A Bizarre New Trend in Advertising: Sexualizing Illness
Sex has always been the silver bullet of advertising. The easiest and most effective way to grab the attention of an audience is to remind them that fornication exists, that it's probably happening somewhere right now and that, thanks directly or indirectly to the product in question, it's going really well. Even nonprofit organizations for decidedly unsexy causes have learned to play the same game; PETA plasters naked women on billboards, Model Environment runs ads with sexy maids decrying the use of harmful cleaning products and the Christian Children's Fund has relied for decades on the unspoken humpability of Sally Struthers.
I just know she's an eye-open kisser. In my heart, I know it.
Yet all of these pale in comparison to a relatively new campaign that has boldly taken a disease as catastrophic as breast cancer and said, "Yeah, I think I could milk some eroticism out of that." Save the Ta-tas is an organization that shoehorns sexuality into the context of cancer for the purposes of raising awareness about the disease. If you're wondering how a campaign that groundbreaking and revolutionary might play out, the answer is "clumsily." Save the Ta-tas sells T-shirts with phrases like "Caught you lookin'" and "I love my big ta-tas," as well as a lotion called Boob Lube, presumably for ladies to sensually check their breasts for malignant tumors. The whole campaign is about as sexually confused as a Pepto-Bismol commercial featuring nothing but the thonged and glistening butts of gorgeous young women who recently consumed piles of spicy food from a questionable restaurant.
Naturally, there are critics of the organization. They have accused Save the Ta-tas of devaluing human life by focusing on the breasts instead of the people attached to them. They are angry that the campaign puts so much stock in preserving boobs when mastectomies are sometimes the best course of action when dealing with breast cancer. And they are particularly irate that a slogan like Save the Ta-tas has opened the door for shockingly blatant sexism under the guise of philanthropy. Incidentally, Porn Hub has partnered with Save the Ta-tas to make...I'm not sure what. Scenarios where mammograms are something other than a machine pancaking a woman's breast? The blog SCATX.com even managed to snag a photo of a co-branded bus.
Porn doesn't count when it's for a good cause, right?
In retaliation, Save the Ta-tas has accused the opposition of their own brand of sexism, shouting down a good cause only because of an outdated concept of modesty. Regardless of which side you support, the war on cancer has lost its way and become a war over objectification instead.
But I want to propose a solution.
I think I can alleviate anxiety on both sides while still ensuring that everyone's attention stays fixed on what's most important: cancer awareness. And assuming there is any attention left after that, I wouldn't mind if a little landed on me. This was my idea, after all.
Save the Ta-tas only needs to establish an offshoot foundation that offers a greater perspective on the sexual threat of cancer. A foundation I hereby nominate myself to run out of my garage on Sunday afternoons. If that day doesn't work for everyone else, I am open to other possibilities. The name and logo, however, are non-negotiable:
At this point you probably have a lot of questions, and if I've done my job right so far, they are sexy questions. The first of which is almost certainly "Hey, Soren, are those kiwis?"
The answer is yes and no. They are technically kiwis, but more importantly they are metaphors. They represent the pendulous and downy fruit that every man must protect throughout his life because they are filled with the seeds of progeny. I chose them for their arresting size and proud shape, and also because my girlfriend said I can't put a real ball sack on a foundation logo.
You may also be wondering why I have selected testicular cancer as my cause. Just as men are drawn to the power of breasts, so too are women held entranced by the irresistibility of a testicle sack. From what I understand, nothing seduces a woman more quickly than getting a hot eye taste of a scrotum. By paring a man down to his most favored sexual organs, this nonprofit is the perfect complement to the Save the Ta-tas campaign, assuring everyone that our aims are not sexist, or, at the very least, not sexist in only one direction. My dream is that someday the Sack Salvation Foundation will follow in the footsteps of Save the Ta-tas, allowing women to talk candidly about testicles in environments where that would have previously been inappropriate. The cause will not only spread awareness about testicular cancer, but also give ladies everywhere the opportunity to put bumper stickers on their cars announcing exactly the type and texture of the scrota they so feverishly love.
At this point, you're probably thinking, "Makes sense so far. But hey, Soren, what about the salvation part? Shouldn't those testicles be wearing a crown of thorns or something?" Great question. I'm trying to keep the theme consistent with Save the Ta-tas. Yes, the salvation aspect is important, but the sexiness has to come first, otherwise there's the chance women will lose interest and get distracted. That's why I've put the metaphorical balls in real tuxedos. I honestly struggled with this at first, because they looked like two testicle grooms getting married. While that cause is also important, it's very different from what I'm aiming for. That's why I added the James Bond guns as well. If there's one thing women love more than testicles, it's James Bond. And if there's one thing they love more than James Bond, it's two James Bonds, shaped like testicles. Believe me, those are words everyone can live by.
Lastly, you are probably curious what work my foundation will do, to which I answer "Not much." I'm sort of banking on the idea that my logo will do most of the legwork in getting this campaign off the ground. And while I will keep my garage door open on Sunday afternoons for walk-up questions and general testicle talk, I don't have much of a plan beyond that. My girlfriend has begrudgingly agreed to bake some ball-shaped cookies (with nuts), and between those and the pins I made, I will be reminding the world that scrota exist, and some of them aren't very healthy.
Services my foundation will almost certainly NOT be providing include:
Healthy testicle showcases
Cleaning the cookie pan
Testicle tuxedo tailoring
Testicle autographing (the signing of testicles or allowing my own testicles to sign anything)
As a final note, I want to make it abundantly clear that I am not starting this foundation in a duplicitous attempt to steal the spotlight from cancer, and I am certainly not starting it just to "avoid cleaning out the garage for another goddamn weekend," as some of the naysayers have suggested. If you or anyone you know works for Save the Ta-tas, please contact me so that we can move forward. I'm excited about the prospect of fighting the war on this disease by way of a conspicuously sexual adventure, somehow. And I particularly look forward to the day when my balls can high five your breasts because they fixed cancer, together. Call me.
Special thanks to Dan Campagna and Randall Maynard for being better at Photoshop than me.
For more from Soren, check out The 5 Creepiest Defense Attorney Websites and 6 Tips for Photography (At Your Ex-Girlfriend's Wedding).