This Planned Parenthood Ad Reminds Viewers That It’s Not All About Abortion

Wexley School for Girls campaign pushes back against critics

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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

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.