A series of new ads for Trojan condoms is aimed at an older audience (you) and has nothing near the ick factor of, say, the Cialis commercials that seem to be the mainstay of cable news channels. The trio released this week (directed by Gavin O’Connor of Church & White) were heralded with amazement in AdWeek (“Trojans New Ads Are Subtle, Playful and Even Safe Kids” ) and even Jezebel called them “Unexpectedly Sweet.” Maybe their spanking arm was all worn on Lena Dunham.
Or maybe people are just happy to see ads related to adult sex done in an adult fashion. The first of the series, “Big Date,” features a grey haired gent being prepped by his young adult children for an evening out, culminating with his son slipping a condom into Dad’s pocket. The father does not say, “That’s funny; we used to just carry these in our wallets until they fell apart”; rather he looks kind of touched. Whether the kid doesn’t want a baby brother or doesn’t want his father coming home with a case of the clap, it shows he is thinking ahead. Something young men are not always known for.
The truth is that millennials are latex natives; most boomers, like me, goofed on rubbers as often as we used them (I remember seeing a condom dispenser in the men’s room of a truck stop on which someone had written, “This gum tastes funny”) but anyone who came of sexual age post-AIDS has a whole different understanding; they grok them in a way we never will.
The second Trojan ad is for another product — the Vibrating Multi-Thrill — a “three-in-one vibrating bullet” that a lonely mom finds her traveling husband left her. Talk about your magic bullets! The only thing that confused me about that spot is that he left it for her in his drawer: Is he married to a cop?
The most surprising of the three ads might be “Birthday” — a couple in bed, talking about last night, when the woman produces a bottle of lube and tells her man “we only have an hour before we have to go to work.” I appreciate the sentiment (as clearly does he) but what’s striking about the scene is that they look like real people — he’s unshaven, she wears no makeup — unlike (again) those weird Cialis ads, which seem to take place in some Nancy Meyer universe and are peopled by what look like soap opera stars. (So that’s where they all went!)
Those commercials are so devoid of any hint of sexuality as to seem perverse, and the thought of those air-brushed couples, who have been painting lawn furniture and cleaning out spotless attics, even taking their Ralph Lauren clothes off is as disturbing as anything in a David Lynch film.
Seriously, ladies, if you think hopping around on one foot or doing that cute thing with your hair is what’s going to make your man want to have sex with you, you don’t understand how Cialis works. You could be doing the taxes or trying to get a blood stain out of the rug and he’d want to bone you. But a bottle of lube on his birthday? That’s amore!