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Is the VEET Hair Removal Ad Offensive? MAYBE. Is it Missing the Mark? DEFINITELY.

goodbye-bush2You may recall we posted a poll a couple of weeks ago asking that you vote on whether or not you found this Veet hair removal ad offensive. I found the results interesting.

33% – As a woman, yes, I am offended by this ad.

36% – As a woman, no, I am not offended by this ad.

10% – As a man, yes, I am offended by this ad.

21% – As a man, no, I am not offended by this ad.

So…. we can assume that the NO’s win with a total of 57% leaving the YES’s with only 43%. Right?

But, I have to ask. Is offending ONLY 43% of your market acceptable? For that matter, what percentage of “knowingly offending your target audience” would be acceptable?

A closer look at the actual market which IS women by the way, the NO’s accounted for 52% and the YES’s 48%. Not to mention, judging by some of the comments and personal emails I received, even if people were not “offended”, some were “grossed out” or admitted they did not “get it” before voting.

Was the ad agency being responsible to be willing to offend between 43% and 48% of their target audience? This, for the sake of what? Testing the guts of a client? Winning an award? Being witty or clever? A clever ad might use play on words, but true skill lies in being witty and maintaining a fiduciary responsibility to the client.

And speaking of the client? The real question here is…. did it create more Veet sales? My guess is, not a hair more and may have even removed a few.


Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

One Response

  1. Those who know me also know I really dislike advertising that entertains one part of the target consumer by disgracing another segment of that audience. (HELLO!? How does it make sense to knowingly push away a big part of your customer base?)

    Doing so in a way that is distasteful to – but doesn’t put down or belittle – a part of the customers is slightly different. There is no way to please everyone, so one must pick and choose. What percentage is acceptable? Not a clear answer to that, but it’s certainly much lower than 40+%!

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