'Polish the Pearl!' K-Y's new campaign encourages women to embrace masturbation

If you needed another excuse to enjoy yourself right now, then did you know that May is Masturbation Month? To celebrate this happy occasion, global creative agency Elephant has crafted a new campaign for K-Y, which wants everyone, especially women, to embrace masturbation and help normalise stigmas.

The cheeky, sex-positive campaign features brightly-coloured, hand-painted billboards with headlines like 'Let's give ourselves a hand' and 'Hand up if you masturbate', along with a longer manifesto honouring 'All who polish the pearl'. They're currently on display across New York City's most "sex-forward" neighbourhoods: East Village, Bushwick and Williamsburg.

The type-led artworks are designed to make everyone stop and think, as K-Y celebrates "loud and proud how real women comically refer to masturbation". As the brand for lubes and condoms explains: "It's 2021, and society is done with the male gaze", and that it's "high-time we do more to champion the female one, especially when it comes to sexual wellness". It goes on to say that while the stigma "keeps the topic taboo in the mainstream, the only visibility masturbation gets in pop culture is through 'bro' comedy", until now, that is.

"For this campaign to truly be impactful, we couldn't simply nod to a calendar event; we needed to carve a space for all who identify as women," says Nina Mourin, associate creative director at Elephant New York. "That's why we 'cheers' more than once in the manifesto, and feature a long line-up of euphemisms. The exaggeration is on purpose: if we're going to grab the spotlight, you better believe we're going to take our sweet time basking in it."

The outdoor campaign will run for the month of May. K-Y will also use social channels to amplify the topic of female masturbation, encouraging connection, intimacy and wellness.

"Key cultural moments, like Masturbation Month, give us the opportunity to practice what we preach with playful awareness-driving tactics that engage our audience in new and surprising ways, further establishing K-Y's leadership as a sexual wellness icon," adds Aliza Leferink, marketing director at Intimate Wellness USA, at RB.

"We believe that masturbation deserves to be celebrated by everyone, especially women, and through this campaign, we hope to normalise any stigmas around masturbation and sex. It's fun, it's healthy, and it's 'Good For You' and your relationship."


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