For bad advertising, read this post: “Regency Condoms”
In August 2009, Trojan thought it would be a good idea to take our favourite Austen novel, mash together some of the famous lines and come up with a “Trojan 2Go” condom advertisement. I guess the point isn’t to appeal to Janeites, and probably not even to women, and yet it still irritates me more than it should. Perhaps it’s the lack of attention to detail, and the caricatures, but it really doesn’t sit well with me. Nonetheless, it’s interesting viewing:
Firstly, it’s very poorly shot. The sound levels are wrong, and the bird noise is intrusive. It looks very unlike the actual novel, and it is very static. The lines are chosen from what half a dozen characters say and are condensed down into two of the three characters present. This is obviously to emphasize that it is Pride and Prejudice (it seems there was a large amount of labour involved to get the words ‘Pemberley’ and ‘Pair of fine eyes’ into this segment).
The whole “Trojan 2Go” thing, in case you’re interested, is a product that’s a small compact set of two condoms in (what they call) “revolutionary new [packaging]”, rather than a string of a million, to make things “discreet”. Trojan is the top manufacturer of condoms in the US, and 3/4 of condoms bought are Trojan. However, how they managed to link this product to Pride and Prejudice in the marketing department, I have no clue (and would love to find out!). If it was to keep in character with the book, perhaps Wickham could have this issue, but I fear that would be too vague a reference to P&P for too many people (particularly men of the 18-25 variety).
On Trojan Videos, one person listed as Anonymous actually said “Jane Austen would be proud”. Really? I think this is just another case, as mentioned in a previous post, of sexing up the Regency era. And, generally speaking, it’s not a good thing. However, the video on the website (with about 2,000 views) had a 58 per cent up rating. I suppose this is because of the demographics who viewed the piece, but I wouldn’t really know.
At the same time, there must have been at least one brain around the idea, as Pride and Prejudice was just starting to hit back into popular consciousness, with the release of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in mid-March of 2009. Maybe this was an attempt to ride the wave of popularity that PPZ had cast? Or maybe it was a completely original thought, inspired by the new Austen-hype?
One thing that can be assumed, however, is that whoever thought it up believed that Regency men were meant to look suave and be charming, much as the ideal is held up today to be. I’m not sure what they were thinking. Over at ‘an Ad a Day‘ Katie Zenke has some very interesting commentary, and a refreshingly different point of view, about the product and related commercial in her post Trojan 2Go: Pride and Prejudice. I particularly liked her insights about the type of society that Austen portrays, and what is represented in the advertisement.
I’ve had a bit of a search through their website for any more information about who came up with this idea/who made it et cetera, but could only find a lot of PR junk about sexual health and schools. However, Trojanprofessional online gives us some interesting insight into our world versus that of Austen’s with this little quote: “We’re a sexually active society, but condom use is burdened with outdated ideas about promiscuity and “bad intentions”.” So, what did they do in the Regency time to avoid pregnancy? Most of the time, it was avoiding having sex (and this is seen in many Pride and Prejudice versions, with the PPZ prequel Dawn of The Dead discussing Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Bennet having separate rooms) or using dodgy methods such as withdrawal.
But, in actual fact, similar inventions to the condom were used as far back as 1000 BC in Egypt, with the first written account being in the 1500s. The term condom, from ‘condum’, was used in a poem in the 18th Century (out of animal intestines believe it or not) and, although not popular and very expensive, could have been used back then… so maybe the idea of “Regency Condoms” isn’t quite so preposterous.