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“Fuck Valentine’s Day,” whispers a scantily clad Pamela Anderson at the end of Coco De Mer’s latest ad. Pammy subverts the usual valentine tropes – revealing lingerie, rose petals, romantic lighting – by bolting the door, lovingly unboxing her vibrator and spending the evening BY herself.

Created by Rankin and his creative agency, The Full Service, the ad shows iconic actress Pamela Anderson arriving home and getting herself ready for what viewers presume is a hot Valentine’s Day date. Pammy gets down to her lingerie, lights some candles and puts on some romantic music – so far, so clichéd. But when a knock comes at the door, instead of letting in a handsome suitor, she bolts it instead, before returning to her room to play with her Coco De Mer vibrator alone. Cue a series of sensual, suggestive close-ups and a tagline that reads; “No one knows you better than you. Take your breath away this Valentine’s Day.”  

“Fuck Valentine’s Day.”
RankinFilm (2017) ©

"It’s about women taking control,” says Lucy Litwack, managing director of Coco de Mer, “moving away from stereotypes and allowing each and every woman to own Valentine’s Day without worrying whether they have a partner.” The ad taps into shifting attitudes around depictions of female bodies and female pleasure. Women have long been portrayed as sexual objects on screen, despite the fact that over 90% of people say that portraying women as sex symbols in advertising is harmful. But female masturbation remains taboo, regardless of the fact that three-quarters of young women have experimented with sex toys.

It’s also likely to resonate with the 58% of Gen Yers who think Valentine’s Day is overrated, and the 52% who ‘don’t really care’ about the holiday. Some young people are swapping the romantic traditions of February 14th for an alternative celebration of friendship called ‘Galentine’s Day’ the day before. Still, Valentine’s day isn’t over yet; an estimated one billion cards are sent each year and Brits splash out £1.6 billion on gifts and treats for February 14th. And with Gen Yers’ fondness for self-gifting, perhaps singletons are taking a leaf out of Pammy’s book, and treating themselves to a bit of self-love. 

Katy Young is a Canvas8 behavioural analyst. She has a degree in American Studies and Film and an MA in Journalism. Her interests include wild swimming, thinking of podcast ideas and singing in an all-female choir.

13 Feb 17
2 min read

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