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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mail Call: Contraceptives! Champagne! Weekend. Planned.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 11:30 AM

click to enlarge today_003.jpg
Hey kids, it's time for another exciting installment of Mail Call, where your friendly Editorial Assistant (that's me!) gives you glimpse into the totally bizarre promotional materials that make their way to the SF Weekly offices and onto my desk.

This particular piece of swag was sent to our Managing Editor, Will Harper, but I intercepted the package because the vague exterior labeling ("Women's health information") really called out to me. The package was from Berkeley-based Mayar Laboratories, and inside, nestled cozily among a nest of Styrofoam packing peanuts, was a Today Sponge, the  female contraceptive previously discontinued in the U.S., that's now making its way back to drugstore shelves. Surely I could ring a blog post out of the Sponge?

The best part about promotional materials is the ad copy, and this example was no exception. "Dear Will," read the insert, "We are pleased to announce that we have re-launched the Today Sponge in the United States...Enclosed, please find a 3-pack showing our exciting new packaging along with information regarding the Today Sponge." Exciting new packaging? I'm not sure how the sponge was formerly packaged, but these are sealed in plastic (they sort of look like individually wrapped wedges of fresh mozzarella cheese) and housed in a sea foam green box. Suffice to say, I was underwhelmed. For truly exciting contraceptive packaging, we refer you to the Japanese.

Then there's the imagery. For whatever reason, promotional copy for anything related to the human body that might be perceived as sensitive (periods, hemorrhoids, aging) are always illustrated with a nondescript couple doing something sort of sweet. Walking into a sunset. Playing tennis. Whatever. The "Sponge Couple" are, of course, completely clothed. The dude is wearing a white button-up (sexy!) and is holding the chick like a new bride, and is heaving her at the camera in such a way that one might surmise he intends to toss her at it. "Oh my God," she seems to be saying, "if we ever get tired of the game where my partner tosses me, giggling with abandon, into a mound of fresh-cut grass, we might totally get around to having protected sex!"

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A few weeks ago we received the American flag themed mini-bottle of champagne in the mail (I no longer remember who sent it) and it has sat unopened since its arrival. It's unusual for booze to go unopened so long around here (unless you count the "Emergency Forty") so it must have been serendipity that the bottle was still here when the Sponges arrived. Pop!
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Andy Wright

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