This has to be one of the wildest, most imaginative viral marketing campaigns ever.
Zack16 is an incredibly well-produced series of spots, backed up with a nifty and entertaining website conceived by Chicago-based ad agency Leo Burnett Worldwide about a 16-year-old boy who wakes up one morning with a vagina where his penis used to be.
The advertiser is Tampax.
I was blown away when I saw it. There was nothing like this when I was a crampy Girl Scout.
I’m still not certain why feminine hygiene products need viral marketing. The need for them is certainly not spread by a virus, electronic or protein-based. The need isn’t going away. But the campaign is still funny and clever. We get to watch sort of a “James at 16” except with girly bits and a period. And, while I’m sure the light-hearted treatment of Zach’s suprise genital swap will offend some people, I feel like it’s handled in a way that’s sort of sweet and inoffensive. There was the potential here for cheap jokes that would piss off the trans and intersex communities and I somehow think this won’t.
Here are the first four episodes in one short “film”. This is the introduction from the website, in Zack’s words:
This is it. The first four episodes of my weird transformation together in one easy-to-watch package. Man, I hate that word. Package. Reminds me of what I no longer have. Anyway, I hope you like the film and hopefully there’s more to come. In the meantime, I’ll keep blogging and tweeting. Oh, and if you happen to see my missing guy parts anywhere, please drop me a line.
You can see the entire Zack16 website here.
For the (very) adult version, check out Buck Angel, the “Man with a Pussy”. I’ve got to wonder if someone over at LBW is a fan of Buck’s.