In today's hyperpartisan political environment, Planned Parenthood has long been associated with a single word: abortion.
Yet the nonprofit organization, which began in Brooklyn in 1921 under the American Birth Control League moniker, claims that more than 2.5 million women (and men) visit its offices around the country every year. And the vast majority are not seeking to end pregancies, even as opponents continue to challenge the longstanding claim that only 3 percent of the group's services involve terminating a pregnancy.
Political spats and statistics aside, no party can claim Planned Parenthood does not satisfy patients' varied healthcare needs, which range from breast exams to tests for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. The organization also calls itself "the nation's largest provider of sex education."
A new ad by the Seattle agency Wexley School for Girls for the org's Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands (GNHI) branch reminds viewers of those other services while playing on the assumption that anything involving the name Planned Parenthood will eventually turn into a heated all-or-nothing debate over birth control.
Given that 2016 is a presidential election year, the topic will inevitably come up even though Republican nominee Donald J. Trump seems more interested in discussing other things like, say, the size of his … rallies.
In making the ad, Wexley School for Girls looked to subvert the standard narrative regarding Planned Parenthood.
"Planned Parenthood is an organization we care passionately about so we jumped at the chance to work with them. In truth, everyone on this project did," says executive creative director Cal McAllister. "We all wanted to come to their defense after Planned Parenthood being so maliciously attacked. I'm constantly impressed by their focus on staying the course and winning the right way."
Sandy Rhyneer, the GNHI division's vp of marketing and communications, says, "People tend to have preconceived notions about Planned Parenthood—we felt comfortable tasking Wexley with this assignment, highlighting health care services most may not be aware we offer, while also playing to our strengths." She adds, "The TV spot Wexley developed mirrors the quality and care Planned Parenthood provides, and we couldn't be happier with the result."
The ad will almost certainly not end the frequently contentious debates surrounding the Planned Parenthood organization. But it does provide a somewhat restrained pushback against those who would reduce the organization to a single word.
Client: Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands
Agency: Wexley School for Girls
Executive Creative Directors: Cal McAllister, Ian Cohen
Copywriter: Cal McAllister
Designer: Miguel Wylengco
Director of Planning and Strategy: Christine Wise
Associate Producer: Tara Cooke
Associate Planner: Chelsea Webber
Account Manager: Nick Minnott
Project Manager: Krystal Coyne
Production Company: Production for the People
Director: Carolyn Chen
Executive Producer: Pam Tarr
Sales Rep: Deirdre Rymer
Line Producer: Jessica Wise
Editorial Company: Lost Planet
Editor: Federico Brusilovsky
Audio Company: Eleven Sound, LLC
Sound Designer/Mixer: Ben Freer
Voice Over: Missi Pyle/UTA
Shopper: Erin Coleman
Barista: Chelsea Bellas
Hired driver: Alex Benjamin
Pre-school teacher: Michele Acosta