This billboard for a sex toy is actually a message about women's empowerment.

People tend to think of Canada as a progressive oasis and for good reason: quality health care, beautiful environmental landscapes and a general attitude of inclusion and tolerance are all very Canadian things.

Of course, nobody is perfect and it turns out that Canada has some fairly regressive attitudes when it comes to women talking about sex in public. But one company has countered that narrative and is making a huge splash with their new billboard that contains an unmistakable message of female empowerment.

“You can use sex to sell anything, except if it’s women’s pleasure,” said Stephanie Keating, marketing manager at WOW Tech Group, in an interview with AdWeek.


Keating’s company worked with PinkCherry and design firm The Garden to promote their new vibrator, brilliantly called the “Womanizer” with a line of marketing text that has made international headlines: “Scream your own name.”

Much like in the U.S., Canada doesn’t have any explicit laws against advertising like this. But Keating says the unspoken rules most often result in such advertising campaigns getting turned down by major vendors.

In fact, the company claims that they’ve already set a North American record by having the billboard in place for just three weeks.

It has also already been nominated as one of the year’s best new advertisment, based in large part to the organic reaction from industry professionals and casual observers alike.

It's a major victory, especially when you consider that just getting the billboard up in the first place was a mountain many thought couldn’t be scaled.

“When you are in the business of promoting women’s sexual pleasure and all the benefits that go with that, you’re used to being rejected,” Keating told AdWeek. “We approach every media buy with trepidation, as we never know if our investment is going to see the light of day. Regardless of the medium—traditional, digital, social, podcasting—our ads have been censored even when they contain no explicit or suggestive content.”

At the same time, sex toys of all stripes are often given incredible amounts of free publicity, so long as they are targeted at and for men.

In 2016, Chile's Economy Minister Luis Felipe Cespedes got into hot water when he gleefully posed with a female sex doll after controversial comments comparing his country's economy to women saying both needed to be "stimulated" in order to be activated.

Photo by George Cadenas/Getty Images)

But because of the incredibly positive attention, the billboard has received, they’re already planning to extend the billboard’s ad buy into 2020 and the company says there are looking at other large scale advertising platforms to expand the Womanizer’s reach.

“We have always seen the value in this brand,” The Garden co-founder Shari Walczak told AdWeek.

“This is a company that believes in the importance of sexual wellness and empowerment for women, and the value of developing and maintaining intimacy between partners.”

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Raniere was convicted by a jury in July of 2019 of a host of crimes that include racketeering, sex trafficking, and sexual exploitation of a child, according to CNN. On Tuesday, he was handed a sentence of 120 years in prison by a federal court in Brooklyn. U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis also forbade Raniere from having any contact with NXIVM associates and fined him $1.75 million for his crimes, which Garaufis described as "cruel, perverse, and extremely serious."

The Daily Beast described the bizarre NXIVM cult as "an ultra-secretive organization that preached personal growth through sacrifice" and that had amassed an estimated 17,000 members since it started in 1998. Raniere was a charismatic leader who used the lure of the organization to indoctrinate women, pressure them into have sex with him, and engage in various forms of abuse. In a disturbing twist, the organization was largely run by women, and five of them—including Smallville actress Allison Mack and heiress to the Seagram's fortune Clare Bronfman—were charged along with Raniere, some pleading guilty to the racketeering and forced labor charges.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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You can be a "D"—You can be a DENTIST

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