Mother's Day ads are usually pretty tame, featuring fresh-faced or frazzled moms and a cute kid or two. But cute wasn't good enough for one Spanish brand. Desigual's bizarre, condom-focused Mother's Day commercial proves that ads for the holiday actually do have the capacity to be both disturbing and offensive.
The ad is brief (20 seconds brief, to be exact), but long enough for the viewer to experience a range of emotions from shock to horror to outrage. It begins with a model bouncing around in front of a mirror to upbeat music. She then stuffs a pillow under her tight Desigual dress and gleefully pretends to be pregnant. Okay, so she wants a baby someday. This is a Mother's Day-themed commercial, after all, and here we have a stylishly faux-pregnant model celebrating motherhood.
But then things get wild. She pulls out a packet of condoms and stabs them each with a pin while grinning maniacally at her reflection. This woman is clearly insane. "Happy Mother's Day!" the ad proclaims as she dances off on her way to have some irresponsibly unsafe sex with an unsuspecting young man.
The ad is completely uncool, to put it mildly. Not only is condom-piercing so wrong, but Desigual makes would-be mothers out to be a breed of certifiable baby-crazy nut-jobs. How can they think straight with all that maternal instinct clouding their judgment?
This is a terrible message for women. Besides, I'm unclear about what the ad is truly trying to accomplish. Are they trying to sell dresses here? After seeing this spot, there's no way I'm about to run to the nearest Desigual to drop some cash. If what they're selling will turn me into a pin-wielding sociopath with a uterus like a ticking time bomb, I don't want it.
Thankfully (and unsurprisingly) the public reaction to the ads has been negative. The advertisement was apparently supposed to be a response to protests against prohibitive abortion laws proposed in Spain. According to Digital Journal, Desigual claims the message of the ad was in line with the goals of the protesters: "an invitation to dream, to fight for what we want and make our own decisions." But that message was overshadowed by the awful and misguided humor of the commercial.
Following the backlash, Desigual has cut the condom-pricking scene from the commercial. See the unedited version below and prepare to be horrified.
UPDATE: Desigual apologized. Sort of.