While everybody in Adland was focused on Cannes last week, one advertiser — Dame Products, maker of women’s sex toys, or women’s sexual-health products in the company’s parlance — was busy suing the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York for violating its First Amendment Rights by not accepting its subway ads.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Here’s the opening paragraph in the complaint:
“Imagine you are a woman standing in an MTA subway car. Look left, and you see phallic cactuses—both flaccid and erect—which promote erectile dysfunction medication beneath the slogan ‘hard made easy.’ Look right, and your eye catches an advertisement for ‘Kyng’-sized condoms, their foil packets shiny. Across the way is an image of a woman, midriff exposed and bra visible beneath her sheer shirt. The ad, which touts female libido medication, reads: ‘Turned on. On your terms.’ And just overhead are advertisements for the Museum of Sex, featuring sets of naked buttocks or women dancing in a room full of inflated plastic breasts.”
Already I want to rule in Dame’s favor.
We’ve been through this with MTA in the past. There is no consistency with how the transit agency rules on what’s acceptable and what’s not. And judging from the ads I’ve seen, the bar is pretty low.
Adding to an already convincing argument, Dame states in its complaint: “Now imagine you reach your destination and step off of the train. Plastered eight feet high on the station wall is an advertisement for breast augmentation; a woman suggestively cradles petite tangerines and enormous grapefruits in front of her chest. A neighboring photograph of bare cleavage features the words: ‘Made in New York.’ A sign promoting a travel booking company proclaims: “Get Wet. (On the beach, not from the guy next to you).’ And prominently displayed is an advertisement for the 2010 movie “The Virginity Hit” that trumpets: “Still a Virgin? For help call 888-743-4335 toll free.”
The rejected Dame ads include one that states simply: “You Come First,” followed by an illustration of one of its products. Tiny print at the bottom of the ad reads, “Toys For Sex.” And in even tinier print below that is the company’s website.
Really MTA? “Get Wet” and “Still A Virgin?” but no “You Come First?”
That’s just plain silly.
Can’t wait to see how the MTA responds in court to this one.