Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lord of the NuvaRings

You know what's never a stilted, completely implausible idea for a commercial? Having people sit around and discuss your product like the subject fascinates them. Take it away, NuvaRing:

Yeah, that happened ever.

Woman 1: "Ooh, I love this commercial!" [sings along with jingle from previous NuvaRing commercial]

Getting off to a great start with flagrant editorializing of their own ads. Obviously that's complete bullshit, but let's just give it to them for now... I'm more amused by the fact that the woman "love[s] this commercial" yet doesn't seem to have much idea what NuvaRing is and is singing along perkily even though the idea behind the song is that taking a birth control pill every day - the reason they're singing every day out loud - is something you don't want to be doing.

Woman 2: "Would you guys try NuvaRing?"
Woman 3: "I'm not even sure what it is!"

Ha ha! Good thing this is a NuvaRing commercial. Get ready for a face full of information.

Woman 2: "It is a monthly vaginal birth control ring that delivers a low dose of hormones."

I love the way she delivers this line, because it sounds like she's stumbling through remembering something the NuvaRing people coached her to say at the NuvaRing party she's secretly throwing for her friends. Oddly, no one blinked when she popped in the DVD and a NuvaRing ad came on instead of Bride Wars.

Woman 1: "Don't you have to... put it in..."

Yeah, hence the word "vaginal." See, she loves the song, but was paying no attention to the product itself; this probably serves as a dramatization of the reason for this new commercial's existence. Except that no one in the world loves that song for real.

Woman 2: "For me it's easy. You put NuvaRing in for three weeks, you take it out, and then you put a new one in seven days later."

I'm not a woman, but I don't know about this. Is sticking a piece of plastic into your vagina - where it will reside almost constantly - really easier than taking a tiny pill every day? Is there that much difference between the ring-less week and the pill's placebo period? Maybe the rest of the ad will explain things. (Spoiler: it won't.)

Woman 3: "I can handle that."

Good thing it's not any harder, for I am a woman and incapable of complex mechanical tasks!

Woman 2: "Small, and comfortable - plus you don't have to take it every day."

Yes you do! It is in your vagina every day. (Okay, except the week when it's not. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.) You are always taking it. But hey, at least you don't have to go through the strenuous exertion of peristalsis!

Woman 3: "But I'm already on the pi-"
Woman 2 [sarcastically]: "The pill!"
Woman 3: "I know, right?"
Woman 2: "So was I, until I talked to my doctor about switching."

I don't know how many female readers we have, but I'd really like to know how many find the pill to be/have been an unbearable hassle. Short of not taking birth control at all, you're still being dosed with hormones, yes? Is there an annoyance about having to remember to take the pill, and having problems if you miss? There must be some reason why having a goddamn piece of plastic resident in your genitals is being pitched as a vastly superior alternative. If you told men they could stop wearing condoms but they'd have to get an aglet shoved into their urethra once a month, I wonder how many would actually go for it.

Woman 2: "NuvaRing is just as effective."

Was that anyone's concern here?

Woman 3: "Really."
Woman 1: "Here are the risks."

Hey, did you forget you were watching a commercial? You probably did, because the dialogue is so conversational... natural... magical. So let's zoom into the TV and discuss your risk of stroke and heart attack. Once that's out of the way, it's back to our three fabulous friends.

Woman 3: "So you'd recommend it?"
Woman 2: "I would."

Hey, that's great, paid NuvaRing spokeswoman.

Woman 3: "Maybe it's time I asked my doctor about it."
Woman 2: "You should!"

Is it me or is Woman 2 really smug throughout this whole commercial? "Hey, glad you came to that brilliant decision after I spent the past 30 minutes explaining how the pill was designed by Nazi scientists. Let's all head down to the NuvaRing store!" (This being a commercial, I'm sure there's a special store that sells nothing but NuvaRings. Just be sure you have a prescription or the bouncer will throw your ass out.)

Also, Woman 1 really gets the short end of the stick in this ad. First she's made to look like a doofus who sings along with lame television commercials, then she's a horrible prude who can't even get out the word "vagina" in front of her two friends, then she's stuck with the thankless task of introducing the blood clot warnings. And then at the end she just nods and plays no role in the actual story! Plus for some reason they stuck her in the worst chair in the apartment. "No, that's cool, you guys watch TV, I'll just listen to it and watch your reactions. I'm thinking about going back for my master's in sociology, so..." She probably gets totally pushed to the back when they're out at the bar, too. With friends like those, who needs NuvaRing?


Quivering P. Landmass said...

I'm glad you posted about this, because it's an excellent example of a company basically admitting that their first ad campaign was an empirical failure. "I love this commercial... but I have no idea what it's for!" I bet they had research come in that said something like, "People like the jingle, but they think we're selling bathing suits."

Classic case of letting the creative run wild while ignoring the fact that you have a product you need to, you know, sell and educate people about. Maybe if NuvaRing hadn't tried to remake an Ester Williams movie, but had decided to tell people about the drug instead, they wouldn't have to air an ad explaining what their previous ad meant. Why companies take creative risks selling something as sensitive as pharmaceuticals, I will never know.

As for the product itself, I know some women on NuvaRing. Apparently it's really not noticeable, despite the fact that you do have to "put it in." And yeah, I've known women who have forgotten to take the pill, and that's a big problem.

Windier E. Megatons said...

Wouldn't it be at least as easy to neglect to change your NuvaRing as to not take the pill, given that the whole idea is basically that you "set it and forget it"? Maybe you have to remember less often, but I think for most people it's easier to remember a regular task than one that only happens every few weeks. Maybe I'm just overthinking this.

danarch said...

I.U.D. You don't have to worry about it for five years. Taking the pill daily (especially if you're not taking other medications) can get to be annoying so this seems like a good idea - it's an IUD essentially only without the benefits of not worrying about it for years; IUDs are common in Europe but not the US for some reason.

Windier E. Megatons said...

"Our unabashed dictionary defines IUD as 'love springs internal.' Heh heh heh... I don't get it."

Joe S. said...

Been waiting for a breakdown of this commercial. It's easily one of the most absurd (IMO) of the past couple years.

Anonymous said...

I now refer to my "sinep" as a NuvaRing inserter."