Advertising Abortion: A Closer Look at Our Launch Video

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Having partnered with carafem on advertising, I wanted to chime in  with some personal thoughts.

In advertising, as in life, the most compelling message is the most direct one. “Abortion, yeah we do that.” It doesn’t get more direct than that.

While the creative strategy for carafem’s launch advertising is best explained here, this is a quick behind the scenes blog post about the video.

Truth be told, the traditional advertising, as seen here, inspired the direction for this video. And the inspiration for the traditional ads was straightforward. Be real. Be relevant. Be bold. Our focus was on every-day women seeking abortions: commonly age 18-29,  entry level job, tech savvy, living in a metro city. Oh, and “Cara,” as we like to call her, has already decided to get an abortion. That last fact is very important. You see, Cara needs help now – not further stress, not further guilt, and certainly not any further judgement. So, our tagline, “Abortion, yeah we do that.” is a call to action for Cara to let her know it’s ok, we understand and we  can help. Again, if you are more interested in our intentional use of the A word, please read the creative strategy here.

Regarding the video. It was an intentional poke at our culture and the social norms of abortion. We wanted to leverage some sort of  pop culture reference, so we asked ourselves, “how would Betty Draper and her friends talk about, or rather gossip about, abortion?” We concluded that after some earl grey tea and a plethora of catty comments, one might subtly reference “visiting the countryside” while another might throw out “I heard she went to study abroad.”

carafem video ad

The cultural irony of this spot is the realization that despite the Mad Men era being 50+ years ago, we still talk about abortion in the same vague, ambiguous, and hushed terms. The more I thought about it, the sillier the stigma seemed. 1 in 3 women will have an abortion, but we talk about it like it’s extremely rare, shameful, and something in dire need of euphemism. Yes, abortion is serious. Yes, it is an important decision. Yes, it shouldn’t be trivialized. But once a woman makes her decision, she should not be subject to additional stress, additional opinions, and additional BS unless she explicitly expresses interest in any of those three unpleasantries… which she won’t. So, let’s not kid ourselves. Abortion is a reality. And it has been, legally, for over 40 years.

Keeping that in mind, carafem will continue to advertise to Cara, continue to normalize the conversation, and continue to modernize the health care experience.