While Sex toy ads have historically been relegated to classifieds and other lower profile publications, The Garden is bringing them front and centre—alongside one of Canada’s busiest highways. A new billboard for WOW Tech Group’s sex toy brand ‘Womanizer’, with the provocative headline, “Scream your own name” has been standing tall along one of Toronto’s busiest highways, the QEW at the 427, for a record-breaking three weeks. Longer than any billboard of its kind in North America.
Although no concrete regulations exist that prohibit the public advertising of sex toys, the policies often held by individual media companies tend to err on the side of strategic prudishness. Even in the rare instance a media company does take a chance, often a single complaint will be enough to have it taken down.
But all ads of a sexual nature are not created equal. While women’s sex toys are routinely being denied approval, provocative ads for men’s sexual health continue to appear, seemingly without any controversy. It’s a double standard that WOW Tech, along with their agency partner, The Garden, is challenging.
“When you are in the business of promoting women’s sexual pleasure and all the benefits that go with that, you’re used to being rejected,” said Stephanie Keating, marketing manager at WOW Tech Group. “We approach every media buy with trepidation, as we never know if our investment is going to see the light of day. Regardless of the medium—traditional, digital, social, podcasting—our ads have been censored even when they contain no explicit or suggestive content. You can use sex to sell anything, except if it’s women’s pleasure.”
While media has always been a problem for WOW Tech, finding an agency partner has been just as tough. After finding that their product was too risqué for the larger, more traditional agencies, The Garden had no such hang-ups. “We have always seen the value in this brand,” said Shari Walczak, The Garden co-founder and executive strategy director. “This is a company that believes in the importance of sexual wellness and empowerment for women, and the value of developing and maintaining intimacy between partners.”
Unfortunately, even with some progress on the issue, when it comes to promoting this type of positive message, opportunities continue to be extremely limited. “Many media policies are long out-dated,” adds Walczak. “We’re excited to be a part of helping move the industry forward giving people an accessible way to embrace the message of positive female sexuality.”
The media buy (with IMA Outdoor) was extended into 2020. WOW Tech continues to work with The Garden to introduce fresh creative that represents a healthy view of sexuality for everyone.
Title: “Scream your own name"
Client: WOW Tech Group
Stephanie Keating – Marketing Manager, WOW Tech Group.
Agency: The Garden
Creative Director: Shane Ogilvie
Strategy Director: Shari Walczak
Art Director: Rob Dean
Copywriter: Rebecca Gillis
Project Cultivator: Sam Sabatini
Director of Visual Media: Jamie Morren