Saturday, July 28, 2007

Seasonique TV Ad

I just saw the the new Seasonique TV ad. Very disappointing.

I admit I didn't get the concept of the Logical vs. Emotional side witty, mirror-mirror-on-the-wall (or maybe Alice-in-Wonderland?) interplay at all. Whether or not to take the Pill is a logical decision, but when considering the Pill's mechanism of action, risks/benefits profile, your emotional side comes into play. Really? Anyhow, maybe it's just a case of de gustibus and all that.

The main reason I found the Seasonique TV ad disappointing is.... Well, watch the ad and see if you can guess:


Not only do they go on and on about "the period" in the ad, but even the doctor tells you that "There's no medical need to have a monthly period on the Pill. Lots of women are having 4 periods a year."

That's incorrect. There's no medical need to have a monthly withdrawal bleed on the Pill, not a monthly period. [As you recall, women taking the Pill do not have menstrual periods at all.] What the ad doctor is actually saying is that there's no medical need for you to induce a monthly bleed while on the Pill. Big difference between you actively manipulating the hormone dosages in the Pill and you passively having a monthly menstrual period.

I realize that a TV ad is expensive, the time is limited, and the ad's function is to convey a marketing message not to educate. But that's no excuse to misinform.

It's like there's this implicit assumption out there that we mustn't trouble potential Pill users with too much information. And that really annoys me. Explain the difference between a period and withdrawal bleeding and watch the confusion cause women's heads to explode. Tell women they don't actually have periods while on the Pill and avert your eyes while the shock of the revelation paralyzes them into grotesque poses.

To see the Seasonique ad adhere to such a silly assumption by disseminating misinformation in such a matter-of-fact manner was really disappointing. Not to mention discouraging. It's not enough I have to debunk The New York Times, now I have to correct the drug manufacturers as well. At what point do I just admit defeat and give up on trying to get accurate information out to women?

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At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Allegra said...

Also disappointing is the way the ad poses "logical" and "emotional" as polar opposites. Reinforces that our "emotional" logic makes no practical sense.

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

I think you should write an editorial to several national newspapers on the subject. If no one's saying it, and it needs to be said, why won't you say it?

At 9:53 PM, Blogger ema said...


Good point.


Hmm, that's something I haven't considered, but I'll think about it.

At 3:48 PM, Anonymous cynicalgrad said...

not so different from much of the misinformation in a multitude of pharma ads...though they seem to be disproportionately related to women's health. (see the initial Gardasil ads "tell someone" -- tell someone what?!!) seems like a problem with the lax standards of direct to consumer advertising. also, concur with the absurdity and reductivist distinction between "emotional" self and "logical" self. what if viagara ads started promoting themselves that way!! ("i get so emotional when i can't get it up.")

At 11:49 PM, Blogger ema said...


...seems like a problem with the lax standards of direct to consumer advertising.

Not sure they're to blame. And, in any case, I'd take trying to correct pharma over trusting the FDA with more power to regulate any day.

"i get so emotional when i can't get it up."

Heh, good one! I say you submit the idea to Viagra's ad agency.

At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get your point about "withdrawal bleeding" vs a period -- but don't you think most women consider their Pill bleeding a period? There's a lot of info in this spot and trying to attatck *that* difference opens up a whole other can of worms.

I like this spot -- I like how the woman is smart and believable. And there's actually an interesting conversation -- ala "talking to myself" about the whole premise.
Personally I have those logical/emotional conversations all the time about stuff.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Becky said...

I've been a lurker for awhile but this post motivated me to actually chime in...

I really like the ad. I DO think women make decisions based on what their logical and emotional sides are telling them. In this case, my emotional side may want fewer periods, but my logical side is unsure about how it’s possible and if it’s okay for my body. And once my logical side gets all the facts, it can feel okay with the decision, too. Or that’s my take on it.

I hear what you’re saying about the terminology of “withdrawal bleeding” vs. “period on the pill” and agree there needs to be more clarity about it. But that is a HUGE piece of education that couldn’t possibly happen in a 60 second commercial. Plus I think that’s what they meant but just didn’t use those words (semantics). But what’s good is that the issue is being raised – leading women to ask WHY??? (Why is there no medical need for a monthly period on the pill???) And isn't that piece of education the main point?

And if I go to the seasonique website, as the commercial is telling me to do, it gives a decent explanation touching on all the points you’re talking about, ema – about how a pill period is different than menstrual bleeding.

I think the spot is really distinctive because it actually treats me like I have a brain. refreshing to be talked to like a smart woman!!

At 8:52 PM, Blogger ema said...

anon @ 2:14 PM,

...don't you think most women consider their Pill bleeding a period?

They probably do, so more reason to make sure the correct information is disseminated widely.

As to the ad concept, I'm glad you liked it because I think it's important for birth control ads to leave viewers with a positive impression.


Thank you for delurking and commenting. I agree that it's not possible to go into details in a TV ad, but I do think they can, and should, do a better job of using the correct terminology. Not only because accuracy is important in health matters, but because there's so much misinformation out there (see the famous Gender Bender article) to begin with.

At 11:24 PM, Blogger JayKaye said...

I don't know about the product but I am just crazy about the girl in this ad

At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I don't like is the APPEARANCE of the woman in the commercial. The emotional woman has wavy-ish touseled hair and dresses in flowy clothes. The logical woman has her hair straightened, pulled-back, and is dressed in buttoned-down clothes. I am against the status quo in the entire concept of "business" clothes and how straight hair = smarter and/or less emotional in the modern public consciousness. What upsets me the most is that a lot of people won't even get what I'm mad about. It's so subtle, most of us don't even notice it.

At 3:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love what SNL did with their version called Annuale


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