Carefree's model proud to be part of 'vagina' ad

By By Amy Kellow | 17 July 2012

Coby Connell, the model in the new Carefree ad, has taken to Facebook to show her support for the controversial spot as it stands surrounded by a cloud of consumer complaints for using the word 'vagina'.

Connell took to the brand's social media site to say: "I think the ad looks great and I'm proud to be a part of it. Well done". She extended her support for the commercial with a post on her personal profile, asking: "Too controversial? Getting so much more attention than I expected. The Project went to town on it tonight!"

The ad, which launched 15 July, shows Connell partially naked discussing Carefree's new Acti-Fresh panty liners, using words like 'vagina', 'discharge' and 'period'. The ad is reportedly the first television advertisement in Australia to use the word 'vagina'.

Despite using medically and anatomically correct terminology and not showing any explicit nudity, the ad has copped over 40 complaints as confirmed by the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB). An ASB spokesman said consumers are ojecting to the language used, the scantily-clad model and the fact that it raises a "taboo subject".

Carefree, however, knew they were wading into controversial territory with the nature of the new ad, and were not suprised by the backlash. A spokeswoman confirmed they were happy with the ad because it's creating discourse in the public sphere, and wanted to encourage women to have "open and honest discussions" in order to "get to know themselves better".

Despite the brand's ambition, the campaign's message has been lost on a host of consumers. One lady showed her outrage on the Carefree Facebook page with with the following statement: "Last night it came on while we were having tea!! NOT what we want to see or hear when eating!! Frankly i don't think women need to be told what goes on in such graphic details!".

Another woman posted: "I was sitting with my 10 and 12 year old boy and when the ad was over i turned to look at them as my mouth was wide open".

The division over the new commerical is clear however, with an abundance of people praising the brand for addressing "a problem honestly and factually" and deeming it "fantastic, insightful and fresh". One woman stated: "Honestly, some people are too sensitive. Why should women be embarrassed about something so natural to their body?".

Carefree has this afternoon responded to the controversy, thanking its supporters via Facebook. "Thanks to everyone who has supported our Acti-Fresh campaign. The feedback and discussion has been truly amazing! We are on a mission to break the silence and tackle the taboo of discharge and feel that we are well on our way to achieving this with your help."

303Lowe was the agency behind the campaign, which is centered on the theme of 'Know Your Body'. It encompasses PR, social media and television executions.

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