‘How Do you Prepare Yourself When You Know You’re Going To Get Close With Someone Else?’
If we read this ad at its most literal level then sure, there’s nothing wrong. The people in the ad are kissing; as a precaution, they may want some gum. But in our overly (and overtly) sexualized culture, we know the real topic here is sex.
I can’t even admire Dentyne for the scenarios with which the need for ‘gum‘ presents itself- it’s all a bit obvious, right? We get it - gum equals condom, kissing equals sex. Wow, that must’ve taken the advertising team hours to come up with. You mean they’re not talking about gum? OR kissing? Shocking.
Call me crazy but it’s my assumption that most people above the age of 19 have probably experienced one of the three scenarios presented (to Dentyne’s disappointment we find ourselves in need of an actual condom, not a piece of icy gum.) The irony is that the age demographic featured in the commercial (the same demographic the ad is targeted towards) are among the highest rate of adults who have unprotected sex (adults under 25 contract and spread 9.1 million STI‘s each year in the U.S).
My concern then, is this: nothing’s actual being done to promote safe sex here. Forget promoting it- nothing’s even being done to say ‘Hey, you might need more than just gum!’ Yes, I'm acutely aware that it’s not Dentyne’s job to educate today's youth about practicing safe sex, but that’s what’s so annoying! This topic stems so far past gum that, for me, it stands outside the realm of metaphors Dentyne should be using in their ads. In the end, it only confirms and reinforces the fact that people in their 20’s have way too much unprotected sex!!
We live in a culture that’s too sexy for its own good. And in an effort to sell gum, Dentyne not only sexualizes it (which is a whole other can of worms in itself!) but does so by confirming an issue of serious concern. An issue that should not be reinforced by a chewing gum company in a lame effort to sell its latest product.
If anything, I'm crossing my fingers that condom sales increase as a direct result of this wonderfully constructed ad.