Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Semiotics of Pregnancy Paraphernalia - Part II

If pink is for a girl then blue and chrome is most definitely a man's colour palette.

This packet of vitamins for men (as recommended for the husband by my Doctor) leaves no doubt about its target audience, not just the colour-way which would be equally at home on a midlife crisis-motorbike but the name Wellman (imagine Samuel L Jackson saying the name - I'm sure the design agency did).

This packaging quite literally says:
energy release ('cause we know all our men are just 24 miles short of a marathon).

But to really add to the explicit masculinity of this brand the packet is plastered with bragging and empirical facts.

It tells us it is the:

It boasts of a variety of contents including Siberian Ginseng. None of your cushy, fair-weather ginseng here, this ginseng can withstand Siberian temperatures, it is the Solzhenitsyn of supplements. Only real men can cope with this kind of pill.

And (on the back) it promises us:
MORE THAN 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance [of some of the vitamins and supplements].

Some people might think that this is a bad thing, you know recommended meaning what the experts think is good for you. But not the Wellman man. This is saying "You know when footballers say they'll give it 110% on the field - this is what they are talking about." Grrrr.

And the pictures? No fluffy things like babies and glowing bumps. Instead we have a picture of a real life scientist:

This is backed by science. Science with an OBE. You can't argue with that can you?

But if there is one message it wants to get across: taking vitamins is not sissy.

I dunno about you but I feel like ripping my shirt off and doing some primemal screaming.

And the husband seems sold, so I am expecting great things of his next sperm test.


The long promised discussion on pregnancy tests is going to have to wait because, it transpires, I appear to be the only one out of the whole lot of you who actually still bothers with pregnancy tests. (An honourable mention here to Adele who went as far as snapping a pic of a test in the shop). But never fear, I am racing through my stockpile so it'll only be a matter of time before I have a raft of new tests to write about.


  1. I'm surprised this stuff doesn't come in a tubular shaped carton.

  2. Ugh hubby took wellman, he used to always complain about the smell of them... weirdo :) We wern't recommended them but I picked them up at Boots for all of these reasons, I'm a slave to spin.

  3. I don't think many men would touch a pack of pills with a baby on them.

    I wonder why they insist on torturing us with that crap though?

  4. I take my vitamins out of their bottle and put them in another bottle that has no label. I don't want to see a baby staring at me every time I pop the PNV. I want some of that WELLMAN, it looks like it could do 100 MPH on a sharp turn. The race car on your road to health.

  5. Wow - these are so macho, I'd be worried I'd grow balls if I accidentally took them instead of my "lady vitamins."

  6. The husband has been taken these for the last two years and his morphology has steadily improved over that time. Is it thanks to the Wellman? Probably not, but we're not going to risk not taking them.

  7. Okay, this is a very big way in which our husbands differ, because MY husband is grossed out by the taste of his Man Vitamins (yeah, I know, swallow them, don't TASTE them!) but whatever. One A Day has come out with a new product for grownups--gummy vitamins. I'm not kidding. This is the only thing I can make him choke down. Gummy vitamins. They're like candy!

    In the meantime, I'm taking my fishy DHA and big prenatal horse pills with no complaints.

  8. I just wish mine would take ANY kind of vitamin pill. How did you persuade yours to take them? I wish they did a version you could dissolve in beer or in chocolate spread. Now that I would buy.

    G x

  9. I genuinely think the bits and bobs I took helped, sample wise anyway.

    Still needed the baster.

  10. I'm sure someone suggested that, WannabeMommy, but someone else told him where he could shove it

    But they clearly worked Serendipity (or helped)

    Not in public anyway Lost in Space

    That very cunning, Misfits

    Stickles McQueen, I wonder if hermaphrodites can self fertilise ...

    Secret D, quite - if it works keep at it.

    Our husbands might differ in this Kelly, but that whole being married to a big kid thing - not so different.

    I will have strong words with him this weekend, G

    Xbox, I don't doubt the efficacy of them (well not much) but the packaging makes me laugh, and you have to clutch at hese straw!

  11. Is it just me, or is there something awfully EJACULATORY about "energy release"? Also, I was totally going to send you a photo of my pregnancy test packaging, but I always throw the boxes out and just keep the tests (to conserve space) and I forgot to photograph them first. I do think the kind I buy provide lots of good material for analysis. They are super clearly designed for women desperate to get pregnant.

  12. I agree with Bunny..."energy release" sounds like a euphemism for the earth's sudden lateral movements. And to think, there are people in cubicles somewhere that come up with these descriptions.

    Riddle me this, though: why is the male symbol combined with the female symbol on the packaging, next to the words "Reproductive Health". Are they so irresistible, even to the ladies?

  13. I particularly like the cross-swords symbol next to the "Immune System"

    Very macho, these supervitamins are, indeed. Can't wait to read if they help!

  14. Ooh, yes, these vitamins will make you MACHO and SEXY and you will have ENERGY RELEASES. Bless. H refuses to take anything of the sort. He likes his vitamin packaging girly and hippyish. I think the idea of the Boots counter-staff speculating merrily about his ENERGY RELEASES would scar him for life.

    (I think I have pregnancy test PTSD at the moment. Am pretending I do NOT have several different types under the bathroom shelves).

  15. Oh yes Bunny, they ain't really talking about energy.

    I think, Adele, the whole male female symbol thing is their concession that even a super bloke needs us women for something.

    Lu, you are right these drugs are for fighters.

    Nuts, as long as he is taking some vitamins regardless of the packaging it is all good.


I've resisted word verification for ages but I'm getting so many spam comments at the moment that I think it is time. Sorry!