What happens when the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) asks actor Mehcad Brooks (USA Network’s Necessary Roughness, HBO’s True Blood) to send “Happy 40th anniversary” sentiments to Roe v. Wade?
This video happens.
For me, the creep-o-meter is off the charts. And I’m not alone, as outrage is building across the Internet. Interestingly enough, pushback isn’t only coming from pro-life supporters; pro-choice supporters have also voiced their disapproval.
I found Brooks’s sultry and seductive act utterly distasteful, especially in this context. Both the message and the execution failed to consider the serious choice women face upon discovering an unplanned pregnancy — oftentimes after being subjected to the sort of persuasion displayed in this ad.
I realize Brooks is playing a part as a hired actor (a part he played so well that I felt emotionally slimed). This result doesn’t seem to align with CRR’s vision from its Web site:
We envision a world where every woman is free to decide whether and when to have children; where every woman has access to the best reproductive healthcare available; where every woman can exercise her choices without coercion or discrimination. More simply put, we envision a world where every woman participates with full dignity as an equal member of society.
If CRR truly seeks “full dignity” for women, this message becomes even more bizarre, likely a creative — and damaging — misstep. Humor is tricky for an issue as sensitive as this. The humor was lost on me, as dignity toward women was the last thing I felt as Brooks delivered his anniversary wishes. Until CRR explains its intent, we are left to wonder and try to forget this very public anniversary fail.
Mixed Signals is where Erin Straza muses about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.