Another Success! Summer’s Eve Takes Down Racist Ads

Feminists are on a roll this month. First, Toms Shoes disassociated from Focus on the Family in response to a Ms. and petition. Next, the California Milk Board agreed to end its sexist “Everything I Do is Wrong” campaign after feminist outcry. Now douche-vendors Summer’s Eve have followed suit, pulling an offensive series of three commercials from television and YouTube yesterday. Writers all over the blogosphere had called out Summer’s Eve for their use of obvious racial stereotypes in depicting women of color–and did we mention the talking-hand-vaginas?

“The decision to take the videos down is about acknowledging that there’s backlash here,” PR executive Stacie Barnett of advertising agency The Richards Group told Adweek. Meaning Summer’s Eve is not acknowledging the ads were racist or in poor taste. They just recognize they weren’t very well-received. The overall “Hail to the V” campaign is continuing its print ads (featuring famous vaginas of history) and live-action commercials.

Just last week, the same execs at the Richards Group stood by the ads:

We never intended anything other than to make the videos relatable, and our in-house multicutural experts confirmed the approach.

(Who are these “in-house multicultural experts” that would sign off on such a racist campaign? Maybe Summer’s Eve picked them up in the same unemployment line where they found “gynecologists and dermatologists” to OK their medically unnecessary douche products.)

When the outcry hit the mainstream media–Stephen Colbert parodied them on his show Monday night–the ad execs for Summer’s Eve finally realized these videos weren’t helping sell their useless products after all. “We want to move beyond [the controversy] and focus on the greater mission,” Barnett said.

What greater mission would that be? Cue the standard PR jargon that Summer’s Eve has a noble mission to educate women about their reproductive organs. “Now, are these [products] necessary? No….[but] there are a lot of women who want these products, right or wrong, necessary or not. And that’s who we want to educate,” Barnett added.

Oh. Right. Despite pulling these ads, Summer’s Eve is still on its virtuous quest to shame women into buying unnecessary cosmetic products.



  1. Don’t know if it’s just us, but whatever’s supposed to come after “sign here” at the end isn’t loading properly.

    We’re thrilled that they pulled the racist ads, but we’re not going to call it a total success (or give up on the petition) until the whole insulting campaign is gone.

  2. Oh give me a break…unneccesary cosmetic products? About 90% of the products we all consume – whether cosmetic, household or food are not “necessary”. There are plenty of women out there that use this stuff to feel fresh, or just because they like them, and that’s their choice. We don’t ‘need’ $75 concealers and $30 lip gloss either, but plenty of women are lining up for those and no one seems to have a problem with Mac. A little ridiculous to get so righteous over a deo spray or cleansing cloth.

    • Iliana Echo says:

      A. It isn’t just unnecessary, it’s potentially harmful.

      B. We’re not upset over the product, we’re upset over the sexist, racist marketing campaign.

    • I completely agree with your statement about other cosmetic products being unnecessary. I rarely leave the house without mascara and I love dyeing my hair red and those things sure aren’t necessary. However, part of the feminist uproar over Summer’s Eve products is that they can actually be harmful to women’s health.

    • The company makes douches. It isn’t just an “unnecessary cosmetic product” like eye shadow or scented lotion. If a healthy woman wants to feel “fresh” she should be able to take a hot shower/bath and be good to go. That’s the safe way to tidy up. But if your coochie still stinks after that, you probably have a yeast infection (or worse) and need to go to the doctor (or buy some monostat). Douching delays medical treatment by treating the symptom, but ignoring the problem.

      Since douching can actually CAUSE yeast infections, you can’t compare it to lip gloss and concealers. And if lip gloss gives you yeast infections, you’re doing it wrong.

    • You’re right that “unnecessary cosmetic product” is kind of redundant. Mascara, lip gloss, etc at least enhance facial features. Perfume makes you smell nice, but you use that in places that aren’t quite as “personal” as your lady parts, like your wrists, neck, etc. You don’t force them into orifices, creating potential infections, pH imbalances, etc. Granted, you should be mindful of what goes into all the cosmetics you wear–some common cosmetic ingredients have been linked to cancer; there are a couple sites that help you sort out which products may be potentially risky. Certainly, a too-old mascara can cause conjunctivitus if you’re not careful. Summer’s Eve, though, is really about getting people to spend money on something that does less than nothing. Simple soap (preferably NON-scented) and water are all that’s necessary to be clean. Washing regularly is important for hygiene and eliminating odor, but if you smell so bad that you feel you need to cram Baby Powder Fresh into every crevice then you’re really better off seeking medical attention to get a prescription for what ails you. Summer’s Eve is a crock, and I’ve noticed that mostly just poor uneducated people buy it.

  3. 1) I would argue diet coke and high heels are more harmful than douche.

    2) If Paul Rodriguez or Chris Rock was saying this stuff we’d all think it was hysterical. If Kathy Griffin was ‘hailing to the V’ we’d say GO GIRL!

    You’re certainly all entitled to your opinion, and on that note, I find Axe and Herbal Essences commercials way more offensive than this.

  4. Summer’s Eve ‘Hail To The V’ Commercial (Asian Woman version

  5. RedsPatriot says:

    I personally saw nothing racist about that add. If the portrayal of the truth is racist, I guess the whole world is up the creek. I know I for one am tired of everything being labeled racist by the African American community. It is 2011, when does this madness end.

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