toronto vibrator billboard

Toronto sex toy billboard gets international attention

"Scream your own name."

It's a simple, yet provocative call to action—one that takes only seconds to read while passing a billboard on the highway, but stays in your head long after the fact as your brain figures out what it means.

One of the global advertising industry's most important tomes just hailed it as potentially "the best-written billboard of 2019."

And you can find it in Toronto right now, along the QEW near Hwy 427.

Designed by local agency The Garden, the billboard has simultaneously been ruffling feathers and winning praise since it went up about three weeks ago.

Some people feel that an ad showing a sex toy (specifically WOW Tech Group's Womanizer) is inappropriate for Toronto, the pure and chaste. Others simply find it too distracting or awkward to view.

"Shoutout to the vibrator ad billboard 'SCREAM YOUR OWN NAME' on the expressway that never fails to make me uncomfortable in the car with my parents," joked one Twitter user who probably wasn't joking about the parents part.

The vast majority of those weighing in online, however, are impressed.

"Such advertisements, centered on women's pleasure, are often turned down by ad placement companies," writes Adweek's David Griner.

"In the U.S. and Canada, prohibitions against sexually themed ads are rarely codified by law or outlined clearly by media companies, which pick and choose which ads to allow," he continues.

"These nebulous and seemingly inconsistent guidelines have sparked increasingly vocal debates in the marketing industry as more brands focused on women's sexual wellness and enjoyment have attempted to run ads in venues like mass transit, often ending in rejection."

WOW Tech Group marketing manager Stephanie Keating told Adweek that she's pleased to see one of her company's products last on a billboard for three weeks.

"When you are in the business of promoting women's sexual pleasure and all the benefits that go with that, you're used to being rejected," she said. "We approach every media buy with trepidation, as we never know if our investment is going to see the light of day."

Thanks to The Garden, which was eager to work with WOW Tech, this investment has seen the light of day and will continue to for some time. 

Adweek reports that the outdoor media buy for sex toy retailer PinkCherry.ca has been extended into 2020, and that new creative pieces will be rolled out in the coming months.

Correction: A previous version of this story indicated the outdoor media buy was for WOW Tech. It is in fact, an outdoor media buy for Pinkcherry.ca

Lead photo by

The Garden


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