As one of the leading proponents in the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Senator Mitch McConnell certainly has had an impact on the sexual rights, and lives, of millions across the US. Now, sexual wellness brand Dame and creative agency Mischief are bringing him into the bedroom, literally. In a move of provocation and political courage, the duo have launched a limited-edition dildo bearing McConnell’s face, towering atop a base modeled after the pillar of the Supreme Court Building, in Republican blue, naturally. “The dildo was designed to look like the base of the pillars at the U.S. Supreme Court building. Because, although the Senate minority leader is one of the chief engineers behind Roe v. Wade's downfall, it is the entire government which has let us down,” comments Tanner Thompson, creative at Mischief. It certainly lends a double entendre to McConnell’s Head of Senate title.
The product launch is part of the Get F*cked by the Government on Your Own Terms campaign, with 100% of sales supporting abortion rights funds to “put the power back in your hands.” Its intro text on Dame’s landing page reads: “Anti-choice politicians are f*cking you. Now you get to f*ck them back. (And enjoy it while you do.)...And while you’re here, f*ck these politicians harder by registering to vote in the November midterms.” When things get tough, the world needs leaders willing to step in where political figures have failed the masses. The allyship of consumer goods brands during such a time may not seem like an obvious choice, but for Dame, it’s a testament to the very ground the company's ethos is built on.
“It’s important for consumer brands to speak up on issues that impact their community. Mitch McConnell has been one of the most outspoken voices around abortion bans in the country. His rhetoric is dangerous to people’s autonomy over their bodies. We’ve seen this play out through his role in engineering the fall of Roe v. Wade from the very beginning. In this case, we see this issue as directly related to our business,” comments Alexandra Fine, CEO and founder of Dame. “As a brand committed to cultivating pleasure, championing sexual wellness, and helping destigmatize both, the right to choose is deeply intertwined with our mission and reason for being. Using Mitch McConnell’s likeness in this product represents every anti-choice politician that has worked so hard to silence our voices and put us in danger.”
Dame’s heartfelt mission resonated with the Mischief team. "We wanted to partner with Dame for this protest for one simple reason: Dame believes our bodies are our own. The brand’s guiding force is pleasure. And at the heart of that is having agency and ownership of our own bodies," adds Dana Buckhorn, creative at Mischief. Fine declares: “A person's right to choose is extremely serious, which is why we're using our brand and resources to raise meaningful funds for reproductive justice. We’re not only sharing products for pleasure, but we’re creating space for conversations that speak to the full landscape of sexual wellness. Sometimes, a bit of humor or absurdity can be a powerful way to reach more people!”
Having recently raised $7 million in Series A funding, the company’s convictions took priority over playing it safe with investors, but then again, Dame has made its mission clever from day one. “As a company in the sexual wellness space, it's vital we take a stand against those who are attacking our human rights. We're not afraid to call out injustices towards individuals with vulvas, and the people behind them, especially if it means our cause will benefit organizations defending our rights,” Fine proclaims. “Our investors know exactly the type of brand we are when they decide to partner with us—we’ve sued the MTA, protested in front of Facebook’s HQ for denying our right to advertise, and have been an outspoken supporter of a person’s right to choose.”
Commenting on the feedback to the campaign, Fine describes it as “supportive and exciting so far, but ultimately the goal of this campaign is to spark conversation and give 100% of sales (not just proceeds) to organizations at the intersections of racial, economic, and reproductive justice who are fighting for the right for abortion access. We’ve heard things from ‘that’s disgusting’ (which it is!) to ‘funniest thing ever’ (which it also is!). One of the most representative responses came from columnist Zachary Zane: ‘It’s terrible. I need it now.’ Our goal is to open the door and host the conversation for all kinds of people and this campaign is certainly doing that.” Dame already has further educational campaigns and content planned to aid its quest to support and enable abortion choice. Thompson and Buckthorn add: "To quote Mischief's co-founder and CCO Greg Hahn, 'If you want to make noise about an issue, it doesn't pay to whisper.'" Fortune favors the bold, but the heart of the campaign goes beyond boldness, earnestly fighting for the autonomy of the very bodies it is looking to empower, at whatever cost. If that takes sleeping with the enemy, so be it.
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