A Tale of Two Fannies

What a week it has been for fannies in social media, myself included*.

The thing is there’s funny fanny, and then there’s silly fanny.

Fanny number 1:

A lighthearted advert from Irn-Bru which started off on youTube only, has graced our tellyboxes for the past few weeks. No doubt it does offend some people, Irn-Bru adverts generally speaking do get a certain amount of complaints. There would be something sorely lacking from an Irn-Bru advert that got no complaints.

In case you don’t get it, it’s funny because: There’s a play on words (“Fanny” vs. “Fanny”). Despite being a slang term for “vagina” in the UK (I know, dear US friends, you getting it wrong is a source of endless amusement for us too) the context it is put in within the clip is one that most people with a pulse will find difficult not to giggle at. It is the classic “Richard” and “Dick” joke, only more localised.

What’s Special About this Fanny in Social Media?

Well, the ad has been exceptionally well received, even for an Irn Bru ad. It has been viewed a mammoth amount of times, at time of writing over 1.3 million views. Many of these views resulted in a tweetstorm in mid May.

Still, what’s so special about the ad in social media terms?

Well, not content with having a massive viral success with a commercial advert, in itself no mean feat, Irn Bru went a step further. To keep the momentum of the video’s success, and to give a further giggle, Irn Bru brilliantly took the “Fanny” theme a step further and produced 50 fridge magnets… “Fanny magnets”

fanny magnets #imafanny
To get one of these 50 fridge magnets all you had to do was to tweet anything with the hashtag #IMAFANNY. Needless to say, it was tweeted to the point where it trended.

Fanny number 2:

“Fanny” was about the only infantile euphemism which Femfresh did not use for “vagina” in their “whatever you call it, make sure you love it” campaign.

There are many many many many comments on the idiocy of this and the (justified) outrage it has caused.

As is so often the case with poorly thought out campaigns, when the inevitable happened, Femfresh’s reaction was not well thought out either:

Just a short note to tell all recent posters that we have seen your comments and we will be getting back to you.
Whilst we welcome debate, please can we ask that you don’t post anything abusive or use bad language as this contravenes our policies and we will have to delete the posts. Thank you.

Naturally, obviously, inevitably, this led to a backlash that it was indeed Femfresh whose language was bad.

A little planning would have gone a long way, planning for a campaign that doesn’t offend its intended audience, planning for how to react if there is a negative reaction (which in this case was practically guaranteed to happen).

In summary: If you’re going to fanny about on social media, don’t be a dick about it.

*I am a fanny, because I luckily won one of the Irn-Bru fanny magnets

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  1. I want to upvote Ian’s comment x one hundred and eleven but then I remembered this isn’t reddit and I got sad. :(

  2. Reminds me of the delightful “Want a raise? Wash your fanny!” brouhaha that went on in the US a couple years back (of course being the US, no one actually said “fanny”). You’d think advertisers would learn from one another’s mistakes, wouldn’t you?

    Ah, here it is: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/08/26/896386/-Want-a-raise-Wash-your-vagina

    And I just spent a good half hour watching various Irn Bru ads. Studying up on my new home country and all.

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