The myth persists that there are more than 100 Inuit words for snow. While that may not be true, there are 100 English words for semen—at least according to a group of Texas creatives who have come up with a humorous (albeit slightly vulgar) way to emphasize the importance of prostate exams.
Dustin Ballard, creative director at Dallas-based agency The Richards Group, along with copywriter Jack Westerholt and creative director Andy Coulston, recently put together a book titled Euphejisms to bring some levity to what can often be an awkward topic.
Considering the prostate plays a vital role in semen production, the team put together a “glossary of sperminology” that, according to Ballard, was born out of an “impromptu brainstorm, which evolved into a month-long series of text exchanges.”
The result is a list that includes “yank yolk,” “brogurt,” “honorable discharge,” “gland finale,” “ovary oil” … you get the idea.
“When we realized the prostate’s main function is to make ejaculation possible, we saw an angle: What if we celebrated this important role of the prostate while arming men with all-new euphemisms to talk about it more comfortably?” Ballard said.
The hope is the unorthodox approach will grab the attention of men and encourage them to get their prostates checked for cancer regularly, as it’s one of the most common cancers in the U.S.
The trio worked with Kiran Koshy, a Los Angeles-based director who also teaches advertising at Texas A&M University-Commerce, to create a promo video for the book that features a buttoned-up, elderly man deadpanning these made-up terms.
Koshy assembled an all-student crew to help shoot the ad as a class assignment and secured actor Charles Barry to star in the short film.
All proceeds from the $15 book, which can be purchased on Etsy, will be donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the nonprofit Zero. The creatives who worked on the campaign claim the charities “have no idea we’re doing this and probably wouldn’t approve of this book anyway.”
The Richards Group is not formally associated with the project, so Ballard and the others who worked on it are relying on word of mouth, public relations and a couple of Facebook ads to promote it.
“We’re all approaching the age where prostate cancer is a risk, and it sort of awkwardly came up that some of us had undergone a prostate exam and some hadn’t,” Ballard said. “In light of a number of friends and co-workers dealing with prostate cancer, we wondered if more men might take this simple exam if we could just help ease the awkwardness around discussing it.”
Director: Kiran Koshy
DOP: Mike Jensen
Art Director: Andy Coulston
Writers: Jack Westerholt; Dustin Ballard; Andy Coulston
Stylist: Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project (Fashion Accessories)
Talen: Charles Barry
Hair & Makeup: Kristin Decker, Maria Ruvalcaba
Edit Company: Treehouse
Editor: Adam Henderson
Image Postproduction: Mike Jensen
Soundtrack: The Seaman’s Waltz
Musical Composition: Dustin Ballard
Audio Mixer: Eric Jenkins
Printing: ABC Press, Long Beach