I can’t even…

From Consumerist: Summer’s Eve To Ladies: If You Want A Raise, You’d Better Douche First

I really hope we see an equivalent ad from a jock itch product soon.

Related: Ladies, be dainty when asking for a raise

{ 231 comments… read them below }

      1. mweis77*

        I also liked the juxtaposition of the balls for a feminine product. “Holy Hanukkah Ovaries” didn’t work as well.

  1. Bend & Snap*

    This is way more helpful than the earlier post with actual information about how to showcase accomplishments to justify a raise. Douching and smiling seems like it would be more effective. *eyeroll*

    1. voluptuousfire*

      There is a powder for *ahem* the man area if they’re having some issues with odor down there. I saw it in a documentary called Mansome on Netflix.

          1. Hlyssande*

            I actually like their body washes, but that only leaves you with a small, reasonable amount of scent. Hah!

      1. Connie-Lynne*

        Monkey Butt powder!

        I knew more than one stage tech who kept this stuff in their road cases.

        1. Rana*

          That stuff is the sweaty pregnant lady’s friend… it literally saved my butt during the hot Chicago summers.

          1. Hlyssande*

            It’s also a Festie’s friend for long hot days on your feet. I dust it into every crease I’ve got along with my feet and it really does help so, so much. Especially under corsets.

            Also at conventions!

        1. Squirrel!*

          According to the author, “smeg” is supposedly completely unrelated to “smegma”. Who knows how true that is.

        1. Anna*

          Not only does Cards Against Humanity help you identify your friends that have no souls, it is also an educational tool! (I love CAH.)

    2. Kelly L.*

      I’ve always thought their packaging for the Detailer bath poof was a stylized…pants region.

    3. Ed*

      As a guy, I honestly don’t think there is an equivalent for something like this. There aren’t any really negative stereotypes about men in the workplace (other than maybe being power hungry jerks) so a similar ad wouldn’t be considered offensive. “Use Axe crouch spray before an interview” would just be regarded as an attempt (though a poor one) at a humorous ad.

    1. Blue Dog*

      You have to say it drawn out and slow, very incredulously. Think James Franco in “The Interview” (Whaaaaaaaaaaaa?)

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I have an old ad here, where Lysol says it can be used for douching.

      I can’t even begin…….

  2. Lily in NYC*

    Wow! #8 in the ad’s list is really funny in context: “focus on the things you’ve done to improve the bottom line” – Hey-yo!

    1. Adonday Veeah*

      I haven’t seen the ad yet — it’s definitely NSFmyplaceofW, but I’m HOWLING at the comments! Trying very hard not to attract attention from the folks down the hall…

  3. Amber Rose*

    Aww man. My boss must have been horrified when I talked about the extra work I’d taken on and my accomplishments and forgot to give myself a yeast infection and a perfumed crotch first.

    No wonder my raise was only 10%, instead of the 100% I would surely have been given. :(

    1. fposte*

      Think of the poor people going to work every day at Summer’s Eve, trying desperately to find ways to make their product seem relevant.

      1. hildi*

        I think that must be what this entire unfortunate ad must really be about, don’t you think? Trying to desperately make their product fit into some kind of contemporary women’s issue and they picked this one. Yikes. Surely there must be other current women’s issues they could have picked that wouldn’t have seemed so…odd?

        1. Creag an Tuire*

          I’m no great expert in current women’s issues, but I can’t think of many alternatives there.

          “Bummed about Hobby Lobby? Maybe if you all wash your vajayjays Justice Scalia will come around.”

          1. hildi*

            Wait, yeah, I think I picked the wrong word. I think I meant women’s interest. Maybe there isn’t a distinction, but I can see what you mean when you say about the Hobby Lobby/birth control thing – that’s definitely a women’s issue right now.

            I think I was thinking more along the lines of things that women’s interest magazines generally talk about – career, financial security, health and beauty, parenting, etc. What I was trying to say but maybe wasn’t being very clear about was that I could have easily seen this ad for summer’s eve being connected with a pep talk about going on a date, or being the best mother you can be. That kind of pep talk stuff those magazines usually talk about.

        2. A Non*

          Hm, I think it could be worse…

          How to avoid street harassment: Douche!
          Stand up to sexism at work: Douche!
          Health insurance won’t cover women’s health: Douche!

        1. fposte*

          The ad’s from 2010, though, so they’ve already felt the consequences.

          I got curious about the actual company. #1, it’s the C. B. Fleet Company, which is indeed the enema company, and #2, it has a very odd Wikipedia page. (#3a, there is no company Wikipedia page, just an even stranger little page about the founder.)

      2. Lizabeth*

        It probably wasn’t the people at Summer’s Eve but their ad agency…however, someone at Summer’s Eve “did” sign off on it. (eyes rolling)

    2. manybellsdown*

      To be totally fair, I think what they’re referencing in the ad is just soap for your nether bits. Which is still pretty silly because they don’t require a special soap, but it’s not a douche. It’s just another ridiculous gendered marketing thing, like the “detailer” pouf for men someone mentioned earlier.

  4. Former Diet Coke Addict*

    I would pay real money to be a fly on the wall in the marketing meeting where that ad copy got floated and approved. Oh god, it would be just horrifying and yet train-wreck fascinating, I know it.

    1. mweis77*

      I’d pay real money to find out how many women were in those meetings. Or analyzing the message testing focus groups. Though based on the final product I seriously doubt they did any. With women that is.

      1. tt*

        I know that ad is 5 years old, but it still blows my mind that it was done even then. Are you kidding me?!

        1. Liane*

          [snark] Maybe “cleansing” & “wipes” are the strengths that got her promoted to brand manager?[/snark]

        2. mweis77*

          Thanks for that link. You know, all snark aside, I can see people just rolling along – and depending on your demographic for the groups, it wouldn’t come up. Which is why diversity is so important in so many many different ways.

        1. esra*

          There are a lot of issues with men being considered the default/normal. Huge problems with drug trials and testing.

          I don’t understand why women are considered so difficult and foreign. But here we are, discussing the douche-before-business ad.

    2. Case of the Mondays*

      I think the conversation started out innocently enough. It was probably like “you want to be confident when you ask for a raise. What do you do to feel confident? Wear a power suit. Look your best. Smell nice.” It is kind of like those “sure, unsure” commercials a deodorant company used to have (Degree?). Employees were raising their hands to talk and the one with BO/sweat stains didn’t want to raise his/her hand.

      I think the real problem is this product is unnecessary. Lady parts generally smell just fine on their own. I don’t think the product they were trying to sell was douche but rather a body wash that “helps” that area smell better. If you were someone with problems in that department, and this product actually helped, then sure, you would want to make sure you used it before asking for a raise.

      General public though, not necessary. I think we can all agree though that we try to look and smell our best when we are trying to be confident. I will concede, there is a huge sexist issue with what is necessary to “look professional” as a woman versus a man but that is tied more to society’s definition of beauty and gender. This is just one byproduct of it.

      1. Case of the Mondays*

        Ugh, major typo here. Second to last paragraph – if you had issues, and the product helped, you would want to use it in general, not just asking for a raise.

        Made me think of one other thing. There is a medical condition where some women sweat way too much down there. It can actually leave marks on their clothing like pit stains. We all sweat worse when stressed and asking for a raise is stressful. If this product was for that condition then maybe it wasn’t such an awful ad. If you need it, you would recognize yourself in the ad kind of thing.

        1. Anon for this*

          haven’t you seen the ads for those special napkins you need to use when exercising to prevent embarrassing sweat marks in the crotch area? Kotex, I think.

        2. Ellie H*

          In case anyone is interested, I used to be plagued by what I felt was sweating too much (I don’t think it was an actual medical condition, it just bothered me a lot), especially in winter, and I switched to the more ‘natural’ type of deodorant (Tom’s of Maine) which changed my life completely. Most of the sweat and what I perceived as sweat odor was actually a reaction to the deodorant which caused me to sweat more and gave an unnatural chemical smell. Now I sweat way, way less and it doesn’t smell much, I can re-wear shirts if necessary which I could NEVER do before. I definitely recommend Tom’s of Maine to anyone dissatisfied with his or her deodorant.

          1. jennie*

            Chiming in to agree about Tom’s of Maine. I was getting a rash from Degree and switched and have been fine ever since. I also find I don’t really need anti-antiperspirant. I just use the deodorant. Lemongrass is my fave.

      2. Windchime*

        It’s just so annoying that these products exist at all, really. It’s just another marketing thing to make women feel insecure about themselves. And as far as people not “connecting the dots”…..please. I think the marketing people knew *exactly* what they were doing.

        1. Case of the Mondays*

          Uh oh. Now I fear I’m not connecting the dots. What do you mean? Is the ad saying you have to “put out” to get a raise so make sure your lady parts are ready? I actually didn’t get that the first time around until I tried to find more nefarious meanings.

          1. shellbell*

            The ad is implying that without special soap, your nether regions might reek so bad that it will undermine your confidence when you ask for a raise. Because women should constantly fret about the smell of stank genitals.

            1. Windchime*

              Yes, this is what I meant. Not that women might have to “put out” to get a job (oh god, I didn’t even think of that) but that we should be so insecure that we worry that our genitals stink in every day life. The makers of the ad claim that they didn’t even see it that way, but I don’t buy it. At all. I think the very purpose was to create shame and insecurity to sell the product.

            2. R2D2*

              Replace genitals with armpits and you have the fundamental marketing strategy behind all deodorant. It’s been that way since the 50s, at least, when marketers realized that the average consumer is easier to sway through targeting their irrational fears than through arguing product merits, because when products become sufficiently specialized the average consumer can no longer tell the difference between one product and the next, and nobody wants to pay to educate their consumers anymore.

        2. Koko*

          Yeah, I think unfortunately the product itself is the issue. Good luck coming with a way to market vaginal wash that ISN’T offensive. While you’re at it, find a way to sell blackface paint and disciplinary belts.

          1. Wren*

            Depending on the the crowd, disciplinary belts could be pretty easy to market. I know some people who would be totally into those.

        1. Case of the Mondays*

          That is GREAT! I forgot there was a deodorant called SURE and that could explain why they used that catch phrase. Duh.

    3. hildi*

      Ooh, off topic but I see you’re now a FORMER diet coke addict. What’s the secret?? And way to go!!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yeah, I noticed the word “former” about the middle of last week. I thought “how long has it taken me to notice that?”

      2. Former Diet Coke Addict*

        Haha, thanks! I’ve kicked the caffeine habit mostly because I don’t know how healthy it is to inhale tons of caffeine all day long, but sadly the secret is nothing exciting: gradually decreasing caffeine intake and replacing it with sparkling water for cold drinks, and tons of herbal teas for hot drinks. I must admit that I have been sleeping much, much better, because I was caught in a horrible cycle of “drink too much caffeine – can’t fall asleep – stay up too late – need caffeine to wake up – crash – drink too much caffeine” again. I now have a cupboard at work fully stocked with a ton of incredibly delicious caffeine-free herbal teas and my desk always smells fragrant!

        1. hildi*

          Damn, I knew it was going to be something I already knew. :) I think my problem is that I know all the things one is supposed to do, but making myself do it is the other. Maybe we’ll have to discuss in an open thread sometime :)

        2. Dan*

          Awesome! I replaced soda with sparkling water too. It turns out I just like the carbonation and I really don’t care so much about the flavor.

          I’ve got to try the caffeine-free tea now…

          1. Zillah*

            I have sworn by seltzer + juice for my entire life. Carbonation is the best.

            (Quick plug – soda stream and similar seltzer makers can be a huge money saver in that regard.)

          2. GOG11*

            +1 million. I don’t care for soda all that much, but I love me those little delicious bubbles.

            My life has been changed. I’m going to try this out.

        3. ThursdaysGeek*

          But another reason your desk smells fragrant is because YOU also smell fragrant. You should ask for a raise! :)

  5. Amanda*

    #8 “Focus on the things you’ve done to improve the bottom line. Today, it’s about your worth to the company.” And if your lady parts smell like a fresh summer breeze. It’s about that, too.
    I’m always curious about who vets these things. Maybe no one. Sheesh.

    1. Kelly L.*

      If your lady parts are even involved in the interview, either something has gone very wrong or it’s an unusual industry!

              1. GOG11*


                I was having a super rough day at work yesterday. Then I went home and read this and giggled until my boyfriend started suffering from second-hand giggling.

  6. Camellia*

    And it’s not even WTF Wednesday!

    I think in honor of Sandrine we should have Mon Dieu Monday.

  7. Helen*

    Wow, I really thought this was satire at first. I also love how they suggest you come up with a list of accomplishments the morning you ask for your raise, lol.

    1. Sadsack*

      You can consider your accomplishments while you freshen up, you know, in the ladies room before your meeting.

  8. Observer*

    Who on earth comes up with these things!? This one is almost as bad as the Sony Playstation ad with a headless woman with two fronts. “Touch both sides for added enjoyment”. You can’t make this stuff up.

    In some ways, this is worse, considering that it’s coming from a company that is supposed to be catering to women. Yech!!

  9. Cath in Canada*

    Good grief, this is even worse than those rollerblading-and-sky-diving-in-tight-white-pants Tampax commercials.

    But I just have so many questions: does it matter if your boss is male or female? What if you have a male boss who prefers a different scent to the one you picked because your husband likes it? If you have a female boss, does it matter whether she has also followed step one on the day you ask for a raise? Should you buy some product for her, too, to increase your chance of success, or does that violate the “no gifts to the boss” rule? I must know!

          1. loxthebox*

            You shouldn’t exaggerate, everyone knows you can only turn 50 shades of red when discussing genitalia.

  10. CNW*

    I wish I had a witty retort but unfortunately I really don’t even know what to say! Douching isn’t even healthy!!

    Regarding Axe…when I moved in with my fiance, I took all of his Axe products (mostly given to him by his grandmother) and donated them. That stuff smells like desperate teens. No respectable man should ever wear it.

    1. Cath in Canada*

      We stayed with my sister-in-law and her family, which includes two teenage boys, over Christmas and they had nine or ten separate Axe products in their shower – shampoos and body washes in different scents. As well as the boys’ own bottles, they’d bought some Axe for their poor Dad too, so his were in there too so he could pretend he was using them!

      Oh and the 13 year old bought everyone presents for the first time. He got me these ridiculously massive, sparkly glass earrings, bless his adorable heart. I wore them twice while I was there and do not anticipate wearing them ever again.

      1. A Jane*

        The small silver lining to terrible earrings is that the back post could possibly be repurposed for another pair of earrings if they’re missing. You’re very kind for wearing the earrings though

    2. Mallory Janis Ian*

      My 14-year-old son recently informed me that Axe is now only for jocks, and the “sophisticated” guys wear Old Spice. Which back in my day was for dads and grandpas, not for teens, so that’s a little weird.

        1. Hlyssande*

          Isaiah Mustafa is glorious and I will smash anyone who says otherwise.

          I still giggle over the time he asked for requests from people and made short youtube videos in response.

        1. Alex*

          Yassss – the Wolfthorn scent smells like candy. I have the deodorant and the body spray. I’m a gal. It’s so good. Old Spice did an amazing job with marketing to gain back market share of the young people!

    1. Golden Yeti*

      (I think it would go without saying considering the link title, but just realized I should probably clarify link audio is NSFW)

      1. Golden Yeti*

        I really don’t know. I was truly sad to see it go. If you’re looking for a replacement, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is usually pretty good. Clips are on Youtube.

  11. C Average*

    [In the voice of Beavis]: Heh-heh. Raise. Thinking about your performance. The XXX project. Bottom line.

    What position is this, anyway?

    (Yes, I am mentally ten years old. OK, nine. Whatever.)

  12. Renegade Rose*

    My husband is job searching right now. Obviously, if he followed this advice he would have a new job by now. ;)

  13. Nanc*

    In all fairness, if you’re a vajazzle model looking for a raise, this is a great tip–odds are the goodies get a regular review in that industry . . .

  14. IT Kat*

    ….if you smell to the point where you have to use Summer’s Eve before going into your bosses office, I think a trip to the doctor would be more important than a raise. ;P

  15. hildi*

    This reminds me of the “Don’t Jerk and Drive” campaign South Dakota Dept of Public Safety put out. They spoofed it on the Jon Stewart show, which was funny even though they were totally making fun of us. They pulled the campaign and apologized, etc., but I actually think that made it stick in people’s minds more. You better believe that I have a very clear visual in my mind of what they actually meant: when you hit a patch of ice, don’t jerk the wheel and overcorrect. I think in it’s own horrible way it was a brilliant campaign.

    Perhaps Summer’s Eve is just as cunning – they knew it would be so horribly received that people will automatically associated asking for a raise with their product. Maybe that’s giving them too much credit, but I bet we’re all going to think about this the next time we read an article on the topic, huh? :)

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I remember taking a course in school where the teacher talked about horrible ads, they leave a negative impression but companies feel that it helps the consumer to remember their name and their product.

      I could not believe the teacher got through this explanation with a straight face. Yeah, it will help me to remember not to by it. Years ago, American Express did an ad with a motorcyclist stealing a purse. My husband, the avid biker, said “I will never, ever have an AmEx card.” I still remember that ad.

      1. hildi*

        That’s a good point, too. Because there are certain companies that I have seen what I’d consider distasteful ads for and it only solidified why I’ll never buy from them. So…..yeah, I don’t know that my point is well thought out. I suppose maybe it comes down to the nature of the ad? The specific issue or thing it’s touching on? One person might find it fairly benign but another person would find it incredibly offensive. So like with everything, it always comes down to perception. But I would agree that some things are large scale distasteful and misguided and most reasonable people would agree with that.

        1. A Non*

          Sorta depends what your target audience is, too. There are a ton of ‘banned ads’ that obviously were intended to be exactly that. It’s like the advertising version of telling a fart joke – not socially acceptable, but still funny and memorable, and with some audiences it’s worth the risk. But those are usually trying to portray the company as funny and a little naughty, not tone-deaf.

          1. Observer*

            You also have to keep in mind that a company may have multiple audiences. So Sony, for instance, sells games, general consumer products and business products. The game ads were aimed at a significant sector of the gaming population. But, in the process they risked alienating the other two segments of the population. Women are influencers or decision makers for the majority of consumer electronics purchases. Big oops there. And, it’s also possible that business types would look at the more recent ad and decide that they aren’t who Sony is going after and start tuning out more of their other advertising.

  16. Mike C.*

    This is several orders of magnitude worse than “Bic for Her”, that’s for sure.

    Ads like these (halitosis is one that has come up for over a hundred years) used to always project the idea that women wouldn’t be able to get a husband due to these “issues”. So the fact that they’re talking about women in the workplace instead of simply becoming their husband’s property is in an twisted and insufficient manner a sign of progress.


    1. Not So NewReader*

      Thank you for this. It is a variation on the old Lysol ad I was talking about up thread. The ad said it was all about keeping the husband happy.

  17. Poohbear McGriddles*

    They already make products for men looking for a raise – Viagra, Cialis, etc.
    I would imagine having funky junk so bad your boss can smell it would be distracting to anyone’s compensation negotiations, so maybe the Summer’s Eve folks were on to something. I reckon they figured let the guys deal with their “aroma” on their own, as that’s not in the SE wheelhouse.

  18. HR Manager*

    Yikes. This is an older ad campaign (from 2010?) so I hope they really did learn their lesson from this. I can’t even think about the ‘what the…’ and ‘what ifs..’ because they all just lead down to a really weird place that I don’t want to go.

    1. Mimmy*

      Thank you….I was just about to comment on the age of this Consumerist post! Alison, how’d you come across it?

        1. Calla*

          I thought this sounded familiar, so I was relieved to see it was the old one I remembered and not them doing it AGAIN.

        2. HR Manager*

          But in 2010…well, past the age when any sane person would have tied this product to anything work-related! The sentiment seems like it dates from the 60s or earlier.

  19. Gene*

    Followup Super Bowl Ad

    Scene: Corner office, looking out on generic Big-City skyline
    Manager: Think Harrison Ford
    Employee: Someone like Zooey Deschanel

    Employee: “As you can see Mr. Draper, I’ve brought in several clients this year who have almost doubled our billables, I’ve streamlined the billing, and made perfect coffee every day this year. I believe I’m due a salary increase of at least 12%.”
    Manager: “I understand all that Peggy, but we just can’t give you that right now. I’m thinking more like 2%.”
    Employee: “I don’t understand, Mr. Draper, could you expand on your thinking?”
    Manager: Well Peggy, it’s just that … well … you just aren’t, ummm, fresh. If you know what I mean.”
    Employee: “Fresh…?”
    Manager: “You know, fresh. Down there. Have you considered Summer’s Eve?”

    Announcer: Summer’s Eve. When you really want to get what you deserve.

    End of Scene

  20. LillianMcGee*

    Squirting chemicals up delicate canals aside, I much prefer when people smell like nothing at all. You could be hiding all kinds of secrets under that gas cloud of fragrance!

  21. Artemesia*

    Well the subtext is that if you want a raise you are going to have to put out since it is hard to imagine an interview in which douching would be even an imagined preparation unless it was going to involve a roll on the couch.


  22. Not kidding*

    Checking in on my break, I’m so pleased this got some traction here!

    My first reply to the friend who shared on FB was along the lines of “no wonder I didn’t get a raise! Seems I need to put chemicals on my lady bits and I should be all set. Time to head to the store!”

    My question is this: if you fail in your request, do you supply additional supporting data and offer a sniff test to show you went the extra mile?

  23. Suzanne*

    Never used Summer’s Eve (which makes me think of sweat anyway). No wonder I make lousy money. If only I had known it was so darn simple…

  24. Karyn*

    The only time I’ve ever bought a box of douche was to leave it on the doorstep of a guy I was seeing who had been playing me and my friend both at the same time without either of us knowing. Ah, my youth…

    (As a funny side note, we then started leaving him all sorts of things at his doorstep – a can of peas, a box of candy, a gallon of motor oil. Our crowning glory was a drugstore stuffed pony that stood up on its own – the best part is that he had NO IDEA who was doing this, because he kept texting me, asking what I thought everything MEANT).

      1. Karyn*

        It wasn’t the most mature thing we could have done. But as “revenge” goes, I feel it was mostly harmless. :)

  25. Adiposehysteria*

    No wonder I was never able to score that raise.

    That is the least obscene reaction I can have to this.

  26. HR Recruiter*

    I once worked with a manager who didn’t want to hire women who had “feminine odors.” And now I know there at least two people in the world that have this view (the manager and whoever created the ad). WTF!

    1. Connie-Lynne*

      How do they even know?

      No, on second thought, I don’t want to know. I’m going to just believe it’s them making stuff up in their heads because advertising make them think _THINGS_.

  27. TheExchequer*

    Oh, my sainted aunt. Quick, someone bring the fainting couch so I may swoon over the idea that any female would be so unladylike to ask for a raise without this product.

  28. Student*

    The grotesque subtext implication of “sleep with your boss to get a raise” was lost on me until I read the ad. Wow.

  29. Mel*

    So much fail here, but I also love that quote of “Great work on the XXX project! You made me look good!” They should have used a different generic project title after talking about needing to freshen your lady bits before asking for a raise. This whole ad is a face palm. Nay– A double face palm!

  30. Dmented Kitty*

    Aren’t they the same company who came up with the “Hail to the ‘V'” ads, too? They seriously need to find better ad people.

  31. a non ymous III*

    I don’t think there was any intention of offending women. I think they’re trying to make their product look like a part of an everyday routine. Like the first part of your day should be using our product. And the fact that they’re example is a woman asking for a promotion is actually pretty empowering. I think people are looking at this too pessimistically.

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