an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Tampax: Serena Williams vs. Mother Nature

Posted by Rosepixie on November 15, 2009

This is an ad for Tampax that I found via a blog.

This is part of a whole ad campaign featuring “Mother Nature” bringing women their “monthly gift” (always portrayed as that square red box).  I think that the idea is cute, but the take on Mother Nature is that she’s kind of vindictive and that your period is intended to be a bad, annoying, painful, disruptive thing.  I do have some issues with that.

This commercial in particular portrays the experience as a conflict (specifically, a pretty violent tennis match).  And Mother Nature is pretty vindictive, even though she has a sort of “kindly aunt” demeanor.  They even use some of the stereotypical girl fighting tropes – “oh she always does that”, etc.  Some of the others in the series are more focused on Mother Nature seeming to want to disrupt the women’s lives – ruin dates, vacations, dreams, etc.

I appreciate Tampax wanting to take a new and more innovative (and entertaining and memorable) approach to advertising tampons, but I really don’t like these commercials.  They do a lot to further the idea that periods are annoying anomalies in your life that must be fought against and beaten.  Yeah, they can be painful and annoying and disruptive, but they aren’t always and they certainly aren’t intended to be.  There’s no intention behind them at all.  They just are, like how breathing and sleeping just are.  I guess it just feels kind of anti-woman to me to be so negative about it so unnecessarily.

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8 Responses to “Tampax: Serena Williams vs. Mother Nature”

  1. berraz said

    ummm…is tampex aware that the term “bad blood” does not refer to period but rather to syphilis? That comment is just odd.

    • Rosepixie said

      That is an interesting point. I hadn’t even thought about that part of the ad, but you’re right that the phrase “bad blood” carries some heavy connotations that really make it seem ill chosen for this ad.

  2. berraz said

    though I guess it can refer to grudges, ect.
    The commercial was way to fragmented and fast to really get into it, in general.

    • Dara said

      The “bad blood” was a reference to Serena Williams’ disagreement with the call a referee made(i don’t know what they call these officials in tennis. She yelled at the ref and used profanities (self expression! she was pissed off!). It was assumed that P&G would drop Serena as an endorser due to her behavior, which was viewed more than a million times following the tenis match. So, P&G decided to utilize the anger she expressed on the court toward the ref, and attribute it to her menstruating (getting her period). So the “bad blood” reference is a pun (play on words) such that there is no
      “bad blood” (enmity or bitterness) between P&G (tampax makers) and Serena. It is so strange that how P&G Tampax always portrays menstruation in a woman’s life as an enemy. If our culture wasn’t so freaked out by the fact that females menstruate for the MAJORITY of their life, it wouldnt me such a big deal! Can you imagine if one day, it was “menstruation day” and all menstruating women wore a t-shirt or sign that that she was menstruating that very moment? I assure you that SOOO many women would be menstruating! We could all talk about it!!! FUN 🙂

      • Rosepixie said

        You know, I had totally forgotten about that incident where she yelled at the official. I never thought much of it, so it didn’t make much of an impression on me, but I do remember it making an impression on the press at the time. If that is what the root of the decision to use Serena and that phrase in this ad came from that actually makes it more offensive – as if the only reason a woman, or at least Serena (but as a spokeswoman it is sort of by extension all the women the ad is aimed at as well), could get angry or speak out like that (like so many male athletes do with virtually no comment from the press all the time) is because she’s having her period. Thank you for reminding me of that incident and the media flurry around it and making such an insightful observation!

  3. Eva said

    I don’t like this line of advertising, but I do think the general point that Tampax is making in this specific commercial is valid. Having a period is disruptive if you play a sport, and more so than just in living your normal life. When you’re doing something like tennis or swimming (there are plenty of others) where you can’t hide a pad because your sports gear just won’t let you, you’re sort of out of options other than use an internal device (there are better ones than tampons) or let it stop you from playing.

    I agree with you that I don’t like the antagonistic attitude that Tampax is interjecting into this “relationship.” From my personal point of view I mostly see it as an logistical inconvenience at the most, which is not particularly debilitating and lacks any intent of malice.

    • Rosepixie said

      I agree, the idea that it can be disruptive while actively playing a sport is a valid concern, but that doesn’t seem to be the point they’re making. They seem to be focusing on it being disruptive in general. There’s another one from the same series where Mother Nature is on a busy street trying to give the “gift” to random women. They even show a little girl and a pregnant woman, just to illustrate how they’re lucky to have escaped her. The point is clearly that she’s trying to disrupt lives with this and Tampax can save you from her.

  4. […] by Rosepixie on February 2, 2010 I posted one of the Tampax Mother Nature ads before, but recently I came across this one as well and felt it deserved pointing […]

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