Internet "talk radio" site eYada.com's first ad campaign features unsettling scenarios, such as a surgeon saying "Ooops," and a stewardess during a belt buckle safety demonstration who says, "Like this is going to do you any good."
The third ad has three scantily clad men in a sauna and one says, "Man. You could cut the sexual tension in here with a knife." The tagline is, "Honest talk at eYada.com."
The ads appeared in Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Entertainment Weekly and People in September, on billboards in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.
While there seems to be little confusion that the sauna ad implies homosexuality as its joke, eYada's ad agency went into crisis mode when asked to discuss the campaign's strategy. "This is an odd, unexpected angle," said a spokesman for TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, which has done cutting edge work for Levi Strauss Co., Absolut vodka and created the Taco Bell Chihuahua.
The agency would not provide its creative team to speak about the work and the spokesman would only describe the ad by saying that it's about "macho guys being uncomfortable. There are no intentions beyond that."
In an uncommon order of things, the client, eYada.com president Bob Meyrowitz, is more comfortable talking about the creative work than the ad agency. Said Meyrowitz about the sauna ad, "It's the thing men have thought many times. Whenever you expose your inner thoughts, there is often humor."
When asked about his perception of whether gay-themed ads still cause controversy today, Meyrowitz said, "I don't think it's controversial at all. We're further along than we've ever been" on the subject in society.
Nonetheless, the sauna ad was later modified with one of the men saying, "I feel sexy."