This is an ad for a women’s contraceptive known as the NuvaRing, a small, flexible ring inserted in to the vagina to prevent pregnancy. It functions for periods of 3 weeks at a time, at which point you must remove it for one week to let your regular period run its course and then reinsert it and continue the cycle. According to the NuvaRing website, the contraceptive is “just as effective as the pill when used as directed, and you don’t have to think about taking it every day.” Published in approximately 2013, the ad highlights the birth controls’ ease of use and a resulting worry-free lifestyle in comparison with common daily birth control pills. It features a woman, a man and captions that advertise sex. I chose this ad because I found it incredibly ironic, the ridiculous captions caught my eye and it perfectly exemplifies the article “The Push to Prescribe” by Rochon Ford et al.
The prominent problem in this ad accurately depicts Ford’s main argument relating to women’s healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry’s desire to make large profits despite the means. The ad encourages a contraceptive by strategically marking the ease factor yet it does not mention any of the risks and side effects it is associated with. The goal is to simply sell the product and make it look desirable, rather than provide any helpful or necessary information because it may deter consumers. Another problem is represented through the ad’s usage of “we” insinuating that the decision to use the contraceptive is not solely made by the woman. Though the way the ad is portrayed, we can infer that the product is also being marketed to men with the goal that they will propose it to their partners so that the man will not have the “burden” of worrying about potential pregnancy resulting from a woman’s failure to remember taking her birth control pill.
The third problem is the nonchalant way it refers to sex. Through the phrase “If you think we’ll regret it in the morning, we can sleep until the afternoon,” it portrays heterosexual intercourse as a very casual and desirable encounter. Through the line, “Some days it’s more important to remember his name than if you took your pill,” it encourages worry-free intercourse with anyone and everyone in order to sell their product, but it also disregards the importance of taking the proper precautions in order to have safe sex. Pregnancy may no longer by a primary issue but there is still a vast array of potential STI’s especially if it is with a stranger. The ad as a whole and particularly the line “fling responsibly” is incredibly ironic because the advertisement itself is especially irresponsible in that it neglects to inform consumers on the potential side effects and essentially promotes sex with strangers.
In the jammed version I aspired to highlight how the ad was created solely in attempt to capitalize on the product and expose the irony behind the “worry-free” contraceptive. The ad completely neglected women’s health care by failing to advise consumers on the potential side effects and necessary precautions and instead focused solely on advertising the carefree attitude and amazing sex life to attract consumers. To shed light upon the potential risks of using a contraceptive without proper education I added the line “And I’ll regret it myself for the rest of my life”. I deliberately changed the “we” to “I” to affirm that because the consequences will solely affect the woman, the decision to use the contraceptive is also solely the woman’s. The NuvaRing is appealing to many women because it replaces the task of having to remember to take a pill every day and the stress that occurs if one forgets. However, there is an extensive list of potential risks that continues to grow and the ad does not mention any of it or even suggest learning more about it. Thus, without proper knowledge and education, a woman could be severely affected and regret it for the rest of her life.
Typically, you would see medical disclaimers in very small practically incomprehensible font at the bottom of an ad, but this particular ad didn’t even have that. I added a list of incomplete potential side effects and deliberately gave it small font because it is clear that the company does not want them to be known as the original ad had no warning whatsoever. To once again improve marketability and increase profits, the ad exaggerates how the NuvaRing works. It says “use a birth control that you can forget about all month,” when in actuality after 3 weeks of continuous use, you must remove it and let your regular period resume and finish before reinserting it. In the jammed version of the ad I altered it to show its actual way of usage. If you were to leave it in all month you would be in severe risk of toxic shock syndrome among many other side effects already mentioned. The last thing that I changed from the original ad was that I completely removed the “fling responsibly” line because “flings” should not be promoted. Participating in any form of sex with a stranger is incredibly dangerous, by not knowing one’s medical history, it opens a door to a whole new world of potential risks such as STI’s.
This ad exaggerates the effectiveness of the NuvaRing and strategically advertises and manipulates the consumer by reiterating how comparatively easy and worry-free it is. Women should be fully informed on the benefits and potential side-effects of their personal choice of contraceptive. By failing to include any mention of risk or advisement to consult a physician, the basic rights and healthcare of women have been ignored for capitalistic purposes.