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TAGGED: Gillette pulls lusty-nurse fever ad

October 3, 2005 -- Today, in response to a Center campaign, the Gillette Company said that it will pull a "naughty nurse" television ad for TAG Body Spray, though it may take a week for the ad to leave the air. More than 600 Center supporters wrote to Gillette executives to protest the ad (at right), which featured a provocatively dressed "nurse" who developed "highly contagious lusty-nurse fever" and climbed into bed with a male patient wearing the product. We are pleased that the ad will be removed, and we thank Gillette for responding to nurses' concerns. However, we understand that the company has made no plans to repair the damage done by the ad perpetuating this damaging stereotype. So we ask supporters to thank Gillette, but also to urge the Fortune 500 company to take concrete steps to make amends to the nursing profession.

Click here to play the ad in Quicktime.

The Center is proud of our supporters, who helped us persuade Gillette to withdraw this damaging ad. We thank you and urge each of you to celebrate your key role in this victory. Don't ever underestimate your power to make our profession stronger and our patients healthier.

Although the Center is pleased that the ad will leave the airwaves, before that happens the ad will have reached millions. Partly because of this ad and similar media products, many young men and women considering health careers will likely continue to think of nursing as a job for "girls," a technical field like "shop" (not a profession), and a job that is too lowly for private school students. (See the research). A Gillette executive assured the Center that the company never intended to offend anyone with its ad, and we appreciate that. But Gillette cannot unring the bell. We are concerned about the lingering effect the ad will have; viewers may no longer see it, but they may also see little to counter it. When people think of nursing even partly as a bad sex joke--when they undervalue it--it undermines efforts to convince decision makers to fully fund nursing clinical practice, education and research. This in turn makes it harder for nurses to save lives and improve patient outcomes, and exacerbates the shortage, which is taking lives worldwide.

In a phone call today, the Center asked a Gillette executive to consider making amends to the nursing profession by changing the nursing image the company reinforced with its TAG Body Spray commercial. We suggested that Gillette create another commercial featuring nurses in a positive light, or that it sponsor a nursing scholarship. However, in response to these ideas, the executive said that the company was not "going to go that route right now."

In particular, we asked Gillette to consider running an ad like one devised by ad executive and nursing supporter Mark Martel, who suggested:

Try turning your spot around. Male nurse (in modern scrubs) trying to save a life, only he forgot and wore his TAG Body Spray and lusty female patients/visitors keep interfering with his life-saving. Patients are dropping like flies. Nasty looks from other a mix of other nurses, techs, etc. Next morning he pauses at the medicine cabinet, flashes back to the bad ER experience, and sets his TAG aside with his evening party clothes. TAGline: Use only as directed.

September 2006 -- For the past year our supporters and we have sent emails to James Kilts, Chairman and CEO of Gillette, Eric Kraus, VP of Corporate Communications, and Kara Salzillo, the brand associate in charge of the TAG Body Spray brand line. We thanked them for removing the nurse ad from the air, but also asked them to repair the nursing image by taking steps to educate the world about what nurses really do to save lives and improve outcomes. We asked Gillette to create an ad featuring a positive portrayal of nurses, to fund a nursing scholarship program, or to take some other tangible step to help strengthen nursing. This campaign is now closed.

And once again, thank you to all of our supporters who helped us to remove the ad from the air. We could not have done this without you!

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