The goal of the Your Friends with Benefits commercial was to introduce the first-of-its-kind two-tablet emergency contraceptive (EC) product to the market through a compelling, relatable and educational story. While the process of purchasing EC can often feel daunting or embarrassing, by showing two young women openly discussing why they need the last product on the shelf, Julie normalizes and highlights an experience to which all EC-users have related or will relate to at some point in their lives. Especially as reproductive health care access is becoming more restricted, politicized and stigmatized across the country, the commercial aims to replace the feelings of shame so often associated with buying EC with humor and lightness.
Given that the highest concentration of EC users are between 18 and 34 years old and that the majority of EC is bought on shelf, the commercial targets young women who are seeking a better, more humanized “morning after” experience. When both women choose to purchase their own two-tablet pack at the end of the commercial, Julie also encourages a shift in consumer behavior, making EC a product people think to have on hand proactively, not one they go searching for under necessity – just like condoms, birth control, and other items in the go-to “I don’t want to get pregnant” toolkit.
For this groundbreaking launch of the market’s first-ever 2-count pack of emergency contraception (EC), Julie strived to tell its story in the most compelling, relatable way possible. One of Julie’s co-founders had the idea for this ad, then texted her friend who proceeded to write the humorous script about what happens when two women both desperately need the morning-after pill. The direction aligns with Julie’s goal of removing the stigma and shame that dominates the experience of buying EC by bringing lightness and fun into the conversation, especially as the brand introduces itself and its product to new audiences and more retail stores than ever before. While other sexual and reproductive health products can be intimidating or associated with shame, Julie’s brand is built on humor, relatability, and realness. The direction of this commercial is representative of that.
The Your Friends with Benefits commercial ran in tandem with Julie’s release of the 2-count in April 2023. The commercial - starring Bria Vinaite (The Florida Project, Lola James), Hayley Law (Riverdale, Spontaneous) and Christopher Chang – shows two women reaching for the last box of EC on shelves at the same time, provoking a back-and-forth conversation about who needs it more. The two go back and forth, trying to out-do each other with the embarrassing qualities of their partners, and the humorous (yet relatable) situations that led them to this moment.
After the fall of Roe v. Wade, demand for emergency contraception (EC) in the U.S. increased by 59%. As strict bans on abortion continue being passed in states across the country, more women than ever are stocking up on the morning after pill to ensure they have access to the care they need. Yet the “taboo” nature of buying, and even talking about the morning-after pill, means that the EC industry has long been plagued by misinformation and a concerning lack of education about how the pill works. Knowing EC products historically don’t rely on traditional advertising, Julie’s challenge was to create a campaign that was as fun, light and relatable as it was informative for its consumers. Our goal was to convey medical information that resonates with consumers, while rejecting the stereotypes and shame associated with taking EC. In the back-and-forth between two young women, our creative director included remarks that clarify EC works by preventing a pregnancy before it begins, not by ending a pregnancy (an incorrect assumption based on misinformation that is fueling unfair legislative attacks on EC across the country).
As of May 10, one month after it began airing, Julie’s Your Friends with Benefits commercial had driven over 7,612,000 impressions on TV streaming platforms including Hulu and Roku, as well as 1,096 airings across 11 TV stations with subscriber counts totaling 500 million.
Because the highest concentration of EC users are people between the ages of 18 and 34 years old, Julie also focused on targeting this specific audience with the commercial on a range of social media platforms. As of May 10, the commercial has garnered over 9.4 million views, 76,000 likes, 2,879 shares and over 827 hours of play time on TikTok alone, leading to over 1,800+ new followers. Julie’s posts of the commercial on Instagram had amassed over 60,000 views and 1350 likes, while a consumer Tweet about the commercial from @ariellenyc (linked below) is going viral – with 2.5 million views, over 62,200 likes, 4,685 Retweets, and 838 quote Tweets.
In an industry that has seen no innovation in over a decade, Julie is having clear success with its fresh, innovative approach to consumer education, destigmatization and access. The company has been introduced to major retailers including Walmart, CVS and Target, launched a first-ever product to market and is on track to capture 10% of the industry’s market share all within its first year – making clear this new, humanized approach to a better morning-after is resonating with consumers.