Why Wisp's OOH SXSW Creative Is Out-Of-The-Box, Too

As brands gear up for the annual pilgrimage to SXSW in Austin, Wisp knew it had to be there. Texas already has some of the country's harshest restrictions against abortion access. And a federal judge in Amarillo is considering banning mifepristone, or mife, used in medication abortions for the entire country.

Wisp, which offers medication abortions in states where it is legal, is currently the largest, most accessible medical abortion provider in the U.S. Chief marketing officer Monica Cepak tells Marketing Daily why the out-of-home campaign in Austin means so much.

Marketing Daily: So these ads are for your OMG product, which enhances libido. it doesn't reference abortion because of Texas' strict limitations. But it is similar to your campaigns in other states?

Cepak: Yes, we also offer birth control and prescriptions for common infections. Speaking up for people with vaginas and advocating for autonomy over their healthcare and sexual pleasure is not new for Wisp. All our marketing campaigns are grounded in those ideas.



Marketing Daily: Texas is a very hostile place for Wisp. SXSW is a famously liberal gathering. Why did you decide to break new creative here?

Monica Cepak: SXSW is a peak cultural moment, and as we wait for this ruling, this is a very tense moment for reproductive access -- not just for Texas but for the whole country. We wanted to lean into the moment instead of taking a step back. We didn't want to shy away for fear of any legal repercussions.

While we can't use the word abortion, orgasm or vagina in any of our creative, we wanted to create ads that reference women's autonomy and pleasure in a Texas way. There are nods to cowboy culture, like, "Saddle up, cowgirl," and "Y'all come again." We're encouraging women to take ownership of their sexual pleasure with a partner -- or on their own.

Marketing Daily: Where will the ads appear?

Cepak: The projections, done by Wally, will appear on be on buildings throughout downtown, on the sides of buildings. We're concentrating them around the convention center.

Marketing Daily: How many people will see them?

Cepak: It's one of the largest conferences in the country, and we're measuring the impact in several ways. We'll look at branded search traffic from that geo specifically.

Marketing Daily: Is the goal to reach conference attendees? Or locals?

Cepak: It's a combination. We want to reach this broader swath of people from all over the country. But we want to be the voice of all women. This is a particularly challenging time for Texans with vaginas.

Marketing Daily: Is this a big market for you?

Cepak: Yes, Texas is one of our biggest. We can't offer abortion, as we do in nine other states. But we provide same-day prescriptions for common infections. It shows you that healthcare doesn't have borders -- people with vaginas are looking for a better way to access healthcare no matter where they are.

Marketing Daily: What will Wisp do if the Texas judge does rule against the safety of mife? That medication is used in roughly half of all abortions in the U.S. each year.

Cepak: We have been working on contingency plans. That includes offering misoprostol alone.

Marketing Daily: Currently, people take both mife and miso. And miso on its own is somewhat less effective, right?

Cepak: The effectiveness rate is around 88%. It is FDA-approved, and the World Health Organization recommends its use. It's also very safe and effective.

Marketing Daily: What else is coming up for Wisp in 2023?

Cepak: We're looking at a campaign in Atlanta and leaning into New York, another of our top markets. At the beginning of the year, we ran work we’re really proud of -- and it's difficult to get it approved by the MTA. But ultimately, we got to run transit ads that say, "We love healthy vaginas," a first. You'll see us do more and more of this.

Marketing Daily: Why is so important to use those words?

Cepak: The future we're working toward is one where we use medically accurate words to describe genitalia without taboo and shame. None of our ad partners should say, "You can't say vagina because it's not family-friendly." Everywhere you look, there are ads for erectile dysfunction. It's such a double standard. And it takes a brand like ours -- and many others in this space -- to keep pushing. That includes leaning on partners like Meta and TikTok.

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