Pussy(cat) Talks Pussy

As a cat lover working in the advertising world, marketing campaigns featuring cats always pique my interest but as a cat loving woman in advertising the recent “That’s Vaginal” campaign from the folks over at Abbott Laboratories was of particular interest.

Join the movement to place one incredible word in its rightful place of superiority over all other words

That’s Vaginal” is a viral campaign for Summers Eve feminine wash (douche) complete with a wealthy spokespussy, Carlton, talking about well…vaginas.

“Why is the vagina treated like some sort of leper?” asks Carlton.  “Avoided publicly, snickered at privately. It’s synonyms and euphemism all slurs – some even doubly offensive to us felines…”

In an effort to start “the movement to place one incredible word in its rightful place of superiority over all other words,” he suggests we use the phrase “vaginal” in place of “awesome” upon encountering a thing of beauty and/or greatness.

As a marketer I understand the rational behind the campaign. To sell more douche you have to tap into the younger audience. Before you can sell them a douche you have to get them thinking about – let alone talking about – the part of their body upon which they will use said douche (in a way other than overtly sexual that is).

Do I agree with their selection of a wealthy male puppet cat – whose voice bears a striking resemblence to that of Jon Hamm – as vagina “champion”? I’m not so sure. And if the cat is so offended by the use of the word “pussy” to describe something as primally awesome as the vagina why not then coin the phrase “that’s pussytastic” or “that’s pussyrific” instead?

Wether or not you think the campaign has raised the bar or sunk to a new low, as a cat owner and lover I think they’ve done a wonder job capturing the feline attitude. Just read how he speaks of his human butler Geoffrey:

“Many of you have shown an unsettling interest in my butler. I’m afraid I won’t be able to answer many of your questions…To be honest, “Geoffrey” is just an arbitrary name – I call all 33 of my staff “Geoffrey.” Partly to amuse myself, and partly out of reluctant necessity…wherein it is somehow seen as humane to know the names of your butle-men. For those times, “Geoffrey” suffices.”

In my opinion the out-takes are the funniest bits.

What do you guys – as consumers, marketers, cat-lovers, feminists, fathers, woman, men – think of this campaign?  I wanna hear!

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  • Anna Grupke

    Hmmm…I can’t put my finger on it (no pun intended) but I’m not lovin’ the “That’s Vaginal” as a synonym for “That’s Awesome”.  On the other hand, I really love your “Pussyriffic”. Pussy is a much cuter word. Vaginal…well, it’s so internal and medical sounding. I think they have an uphill battle.

    • MyKinKStar

      VULVA – “The safest car on the road” – has done a better job of getting the word out . . . Oh, er, I mean Volvo . . . SEE!

    • LOL! Thanks for reading and posting your thoughts Anna!  Glad you like my idea of taking back the word PUSSY! better for the kitties and the woman both! 

  • Anonymous

    As a feminist I like the idea of reclaiming the word “vagina,” but I don’t like the fact that this campaign’s sole purpose is to sell douches, not to empower women. The fact that this so-called “reclaiming” campaign is connected with the misguided idea that the vagina is a dirty place that needs to be douched regularly to avoid that “not so fresh” feeling is nothing short of hypocrisy. Besides, any doctor will tell you that douching regularly is bad for you because it disturbs the pH of your vagina and can actually contribute to infections.

    And like Anna, I think calling awesome things “vaginal” is kind of silly anyway. I’d rather say that something awesome is pussy (and reclaim that word) or coochie. 🙂

    • The sad thing is the GUY Friends I have shared this campaign with have started using “That’s Vaginal” in their conversation. Good lord that’s not exactly what I wanted! 

  • sharon

    Thanks for sharing this campaign. Like you, as an advertising person, I get the strategy behind this campaign.  But, I don’t understand why they chose a cat as the “spokesperson”. LOL  It’s a pretty dumb execution in my opinion.  But, I’m not the target audience. LOL  I agree that the outtakes are funny.

    • sharon

      By the way…I was joking about not getting why they chose cats for this…LOL  Just realized that may not have come across.  I also think it’s kind of tasteless…if the target was young men, I could see it being appropriate. But, the target is young women…and do they like that word and association with their vagina??

      • LOL! Gottcha, no worries! Thanks for posting Sharon! 🙂

  • girlygirl

    I don’t think they sell douche, or at least don’t promote it anymore. Their website is all about wipes, washes and powders that are perfectly safe to use. I think this is trying to get people to NOT think of them as just douche. Love the cat! 

    • LOL! They do see feminine “washes” but it’s def a creative campaign! thanks for reading and commenting girly girl! 

  • Welllll, as an artist, fashion illustrator, graphic designer, pet food safety blogger, and all around cat nut – I confess I was naive enough to name one of my cats Pussy Kitten. At the time, an Englishman was visiting and he kept referring to my new kitten as Pussy. It stuck. I get the occasional snicker, but hey, I love that cat so much, I just don’t care! It all started one evening, when I was cruelly robbed of my innocence when I referred to my precious Blackie Junior (Big Blackie’s baby) as BJ at a dinner party. Everybody giggled and I looked dumb – Huh? What? They said, Oh Mollie, don’t you KNOW what BJ stands for? Uh, no. Blow job, silly! I replied, Golly gee! Is that the thing my boyfriends keep telling me I’m so GREAT at?

    • OMG hysterical Mollie! Thanks for sharing! BJ!!! another hysterical!  My mom shops at a whole sale place like Costco where she lives and it’s called BJs! My sister, dad and i would always laugh when she woudl say she was “going to BJs”….when we told her she was totally embarrassed! had no clue – my mom is so cute and naive! 

  • Kent Butler

    I wax anthropomorphic almost every day with cats in writing photo captions, etc., but I draw the line at forcing them into human-like clothing. I think it’s a minor form of animal abuse and done solely for the amusement of humans. It does not benefit the cat, or other animal, in any way.
    That aside, from a man’s perspective, I like “pussyriffic” much better.

  • Kent Butler

    I wax anthropomorphic almost every day with cats in writing photo captions, etc., but I draw the line at forcing them into human-like clothing. I think it’s a minor form of animal abuse and done solely for the amusement of humans. It does not benefit the cat, or other animal, in any way.
    That aside, from a man’s perspective, I like “pussyriffic” much better.

    • Thanks as always for reading and posting Kent. Your thoughts are always considered and appreciated! 

    • Zoe

      Sorry to add my two cents to this post, Tamar! Couldn’t resist! 🙂

      Although I needn’t justify it, I will explain to you why many people dress their animals. Some do it just for looks, whether the cats like it or not. Luckily, it’s unusually quite easy to tell if a cat is annoyed…especially when it’s a real cat. 

      Many of the cats who share my house with me are not only accustomed to dressing, but love it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do it.

      Why do I do it? Because of individual’s neglect not to have their cats fixed and to dump them on the streets to have kittens, Zoe was born. Now that I have the honor to share my house with her, I can’t imagine it any other way. 

      Zoe’s first ‘family’ failed to give her the medication she needed. This left her swollen and in pain. Her 3rd eyelids  were fused to her eyeballs. What wasn’t oozed out as infected sleep. 

      She came to us broken, but beautiful—inside and out. At almost 9 years old, Zoe is a miracle baby since she never was supposed to live to see her first birthday.

      Many things make Zoe stand out from the ‘average’ cat. Her pure love; joyous excitement over anything and everything; and her ability to turn every single moment of life into an adventure in joy. 

      Also among her differences, but certainly far from the forefront, are the health issues she experiences. Zoe is blind. She has scarring in eyes, mouth and throat that, luckilly, is now only sometimes measurably painful. Zoe’s little body is misshapened because some parts of her grew and some never did. Her brain was also affected.  She has neurological issues and experiences seizures. Zoe is also developemently  stunted, acting more like a 8 month old toddler than a geriatric 8 year old cat.

      Zoe’s brain has difficultly controlling her body temperature. I keep her in clothes to help prevent her from laying in a small shivering ball.

      Zoe lives with our extended family of humans, dogs and cats who have retired here from abuse and neglect. Almost all the residents are considered  seniors and geriatrics.
      Other feline, and canine, members of our family also wear clothing (not to mention the humans;)) when they wish to stay comfortable and warm.

      Yes. Some people do treat their animals as things, but I know none of my friends are that callously ignorant. If a cat wasn’t okay with being dressed, he/she could easilly take it off. 

      I…unfortunately many of us..have seen truly unhappy, despondent, desperate creates with only the hope to someday experience love to keep them alive.

      Thanks to outfits for our furred friends, caring rescuers & forever families, and wonderful teams of veterinarians, Zoe and others like her, can live long, happy, and loved lives.

      Is it right to dress an animal of they do not like it? I don’t think so. Is it abuse? As long as the clothes fit, are safe, and the animal is comfortable, absolutely not. There are infinitely more horrific examples of animal abuse that occur every second

  • Susan

    I love this commercial, and the cat, but I have to agree…..Pussyriffic is a great word!!  My husband will kill me if I start using this word, though……lol!!!

    • lol! thanks Susan! yeh, as a cat lady i think PUSSY and not VAGINA is the word they wanna win back! 

  • Jennie

    I think the concept is funny, but somehow it offends me.  And it’s hard to offend me about anything sexual.  The line just feels…kind of contrived, I guess.  Very “ad-dy.”  As a woman I feel “used!” But like I said, the cat is a creative way of doing it.  If I were the creative director, I think I’d bring it to focus groups and hope it dies!

    • I agree VERY ad-dy! The GUYS i know are using that phrase not the women! doh!
      Thanks for your POV Jennie! 🙂 

  • Luanne57

    other than finding the outtakes funny, i just really don’t get it and think it’s all kinda stupid if u ask me.  i also agree with what was previously said about douching.  it is not a good habit to get into and can cause all sorts of issues down below.  maybe it’s just my age, but i really don’t find the word vagina or vaginal offensive.  it sounds alot better than penis, and i wish we could find a better name for THAT piece of anatomy!  lol

    • Thanks for posting Luanne! I agree penis is an icky word but men love their penis and i guess they want us to “love” our vajay-jay (so we spend money on it!). 

  • Zoe’s mommy

    I guess I am a prude. Since I don’t watch reg tv, I don’t know if this type of bluntness and talk is normal. There are some creative points to it, as you pointed out. Personally, I don’t think it’s appropriate. I would be offended and embarrassed if I were in mixed company and this came on. Innuendo and subtlety goes further for me, but it requires more creativity on the part of the ad guys. Unfortunately there aren’t enough Tamars in the advertising game. Also, seems crude and sexualizing this body part more. I do like your ideas better, though, Tamar! Much more creative!

    Great post!

    • Thank you Zoe’s Mommy for posting on I HAVE CAT! I’m so honored! Love your thoughts! 

  • Zoe Spumoni

    Iffin I culd see, I would cubber mi peepers! Wuckilly, I can’t so ebrybunnies can still see mi cewtiful fase! Heeheehee! All I no is be iffin’ I sumbunny tuchies mi undiewares pawrt, I is supposed to blow mi wistly and yell stwanger dayjer!!!!

    • YES BLOW THAT WHISTLE LOUD ZOE!!! xoxoxoxoxox 

  • Anonymous

     What do it means??? Mai peep say as a marketer she dun likes it cuz it dun gives any infos and da puppet kitteh looks silly. As a person who has worked in da film industry, she said der so many cool real kittehs who needs a job to pay for der kibbles dat dey shoulda used a live kitteh doing coolio things. Or at least some type of semblance of a real kitteh like da opposable thumbs commercial dids. As a woman she say YEEEEHAAAAA but I has no clue how comes. Personally I think dey shoulda named its Timmy…

    • Maybe they were trying to be nice and not torture a poor kitty with that silliness?! That’s TIMMIFUL! How about that?! 🙂

  • I understand the concept, and think it’s pretty clever, but I just don’t like it! Aside from the fact that I hate that euphemism, I disagree with the notion that it’s only female bits that are mocked and/or seen as icky. Are any of the euphemisms for penis any better than what we have for vagina?  Are there people out there who say, “man, that’s totally dick [or whichever penis substitute you use]!”?

  • Hmmmmmmmmmmm……….. interesting.  I love the cat. And I agree, I think they did an excellent job depicting the feline personality, right down to the mouse on the table. (Well, Lola would think so, anyway).  I can so see Lexy talking that way to her “staff”, I seriously can.  But regarding the ad campaign, I’m not so crazy about it.  I totally get they have to capture their audiences attention, and if this is what it takes to get the attention of the younger women I think either companies or society has sunk to a new low.  I said it already, but I”m saying it again: I love this cat! He’s hysterical. And I like pussyrific.  I think you should coin that new term.

    • Figures I thought of LOLA when I saw that mousey! LOL For real! I like when the cat puts his paw under his chin when he is thinking…”maybe..just maybe…”! Thanks as always for reading and posting DAWN! 

  • Were the focus groups on catnip? Vaginal is so not funny. Pussy Galore is funny, at least with James Bond. My first job (a hundred years ago) was at an ad agency. It was a era when women thought they needed to douche.  We’ve come a long way, baby. Not!

    • True, so very very true. Can’t you just imagine the agency selling this into the clients though? Must have been fun! LOL! I’m pretty impressed ABBOTT LABS went for something this racy! 

  • Christina

    Hi Tamar,

    I couldn’t find a direct email to contact you, but I wanted to congratulate you because your blog has been chosen as a finalist for the 2nd Annual Petties in the category of Best Social Integration Blog.  Voting for the
    winners started yesterday and goes till July 29, 2011.  Good luck and we look
    forward to seeing you at the 2nd
    Annual Petties Award Show on August 26th, 2011 at BlogPaws in
    Tyson’s Corner, Virginia when we will announce the winners!

    I would like to send you a Best Social Integration Blog Nominee badge to place on your site so please send me an email at christina(at)dogtimemedia.com and I’ll get that to you.

    • MyKinKStar

      Oh, Wow, I’m from Northern Virginia and used to live in McLean, right down the road from Tyson’s Corner!  I left in 1994, so it’s changed a whole lot by now of course, but one day I’ll go back to visit.  You’ll have a ball there IHC!  The malls right there are huge, though the traffic is horrific.  If you’re lucky you can hang for a few and take Metro (subway) into DC and see some stuff at the museums or maybe even tour the White House! 

      • MyKinKStar

        Oops, forgot to say CONGRATULATIONS to the I Have Cat ‘staff’ and want you ‘all’ to know, no matter what the results end up being, YOU Are A Winner To All Of Us Who Look Forward To OUR Daily Petie, Among ALL The Other Things!  PurrZ Baby!

  • I’m betting the cat-spokesman will have success beyond this somewhat awkward ad campaign! (a la pets.com sock puppet dog).  Okay, I really only wanted to post to say I cannot stop laughing at the “outtake” video in which the cat is surprised by the approaching pair of headphones!  I think we’ve all seen our cats react that way.  One of my cats recently hit the ceiling after she realized she had been standing next to a garden statue of a terrier someone had just given me.

    • i Duke! thanks so much for reading I HAVE CAT and for taking the time to post a comment. I get especially excited to see guys on here! yay cat men (please tell me you’ve read my post “Wanted: A MAN WHO LOVES PUSSY (Cats)”! 

      • Thanks, I just read it…I knew I was good, but wow.  j/k 😉  Good post, and I do see a bit of myself in there.  Have to wonder about one topic though: I’m an easy-going guy, but I find I can be a little thin-skinned about criticism or razzing about my cats…I’m afraid to think what that means for “secure with his sexuality” in my case, haha!  Actually, my two kitty girls mean the world to me, and I’m protective of that and of them.  It means I only share that part of my life with people who can appreciate it.  And I do find myself drawn to women who are more “opinionated, loving and independent” – my two longest relationships were with women who fit that description.