The good folks who brought you the "this is your brain on drugs" ad with the egg frying in a pan and the ad with the crying Indian who was actually an Italian have unleashed a new round of ads on the American public. But instead of inducing racial speculation or cravings for McMuffins, this time around, the Ad Council is encouraging folks to avoid pregnancy by using birth control. If that weren't enough, they've put together an amazing website that will send you texts to remind you to take your pill and even help you compare methods.
According to AdAge, the campaign is designed to address a growing number of unplanned pregnancies experienced by young women.
According to the National Campaign, nearly one in 10 unmarried women ages 20 to 29 has an unplanned pregnancy each year, or 1.3 million pregnancies annually, giving the U.S. one of the highest rates in the developed world and a 13% increase among this age group between 2001 and 2006. While 84% of women in this age group believe it's important to avoid pregnancy right now, National Campaign research found that fewer than half are using birth control consistently.
This ad campaign marks the first time the Ad Council has promoted birth control, and it's about time.
The silly and possibly uncomfortably familiar ads feature couples experiencing sexual mishaps like having difficulty disrobing, falling out of the shower, or accidentally spraying the dude in the eye with whipped cream. If you can keep having sex after something like that, they argue, there's no reason to give up on birth control. The ads then direct users to a website called Bedsider.
Poking around (ha! Poking.) reveals that the Bedsider site has a lot to offer, a wealth of both services and information. You can sign up for birth control or doctor appointment reminders, read about new methods that are available, find a health care provider that can connect you with the type of birth control you want. There's even a chart that compares different birth control methods side-by-side on criteria like "effectiveness" and "side effects," but also aspects of birth control less likely to be brought up in a doctor's office, like "party-ready" and "easy to hide."
Margaret Sanger would be proud. Or confused, because she probably wouldn't know what the internet is. At any rate, she'd be some combination of confused and proud.
As someone who does not normally like anything, I actually like this. The information provided is straightforward yet personal. The language and layout on the site aren't condescending or judgmental. The services are useful. And not being pregnant before I'm ready to have kids is just about my favorite thing in the world.