an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Tampax: Hanukkah with Mother Nature

Posted 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 out.

I found a lot of things rather odd about this commercial.

First of all, while I appreciate seeing a holiday that doesn’t get mentioned in advertising very often, this isn’t exactly a great way of using it.  This seems to deliberately be trying to associate Hanukkah with menstruation, which the ad (and the campaign as a whole) wants to encourage women to think of as a very bad, disruptive thing.  That’s not really a very respectful way to use a religious holiday in an ad (not that most of the Christmas ads use Christmas very respectfully either, but at least most of them aren’t deliberately trying to give it negative associations).

Second of all, this doesn’t even mention the product or tell us how it could make our lives better or help us enjoy the holiday.  It just tells us our holiday is going to be disrupted for a large portion of it.  Great.  That’s not very helpful, nor is it great advertising.

The thing that this campaign makes me think is that Tampax wants women to use products that allow them to not have to “suffer” periods at all – like birth control pills that let you regulate when and how often you get them.  It doesn’t make me think that their product is awesome and I should buy it.

It also makes me feel like the people who make this campaign really don’t like women and all the “ickiness” that goes along with being one.  Yeah, getting your period can be annoying and, depending on what you’re doing, can be disruptive (especially if you aren’t prepared for it), but in general, once you’re used to getting them, they aren’t that bad.  Some women even find them comforting!  It’s something that tells us not only that we are working normally, but that we aren’t pregnant (something that can be a very useful and reassuring piece of information to have) and are healthy.  And no matter how annoying it might be sometimes, it’s not some vindictive thing nature is doing to us just because it can!  The idea that it is implies an attitude about women that is more than a little creepy.

I think that this is a pretty offensive ad on several levels.

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6 Responses to “Tampax: Hanukkah with Mother Nature”

  1. terra said

    is this really the whole ad? weird, like we need a reminder that we have a period… am I likely to forget… NO!

    • Rosepixie said

      Yeah, this whole campaign seems to be based partially on the assumption that every time women get their periods it surprises them, which is just plain strange.

  2. It is really bad how adverts like to portray menstruation and related products. Who would’ve thought in a society that is so open to sex, hatred and violence that we can’t even seem to find a good commercial portraying the reality of menstruation. Sure, we don’t need to see all the “details” – but really, they need to be more relistic in these ads. A few times in my own entries I’ve ranted about how different the marketing is for feminine hygiene products are in North America compared to in Asia. I’m sure all manufactueres are just concerned about making their products look good and to sell – which makes sense – but at least Asia-distributors are actually using proper terminology and representations in their ads, not like in N.A where they like to use language like “mother nature” or “fluid”, etc. I don’t see why they just don’t use the real words. I think the a news report probably offers more “negative words” than saying the world “menstrual flow”!

    Commercials play a very large role in influencing how young women and men perceive menstruation (or anything for that matter). The way that advertisements are made, they all negatively portray menstruation and instill on their viewers that there is embarrassment, surprize, shock, humiliation and the need to be “discrete” when they are on their period. For young women, this makes them feel ashamed and scared to really take time to understand their bodies and for men, it makes periods a taboo thing and they associate menstruation with negative aspects.

    I hope advertisers will take time to think about the ideas they’re portraying and how much impact it has to people of all ages!

    • Rosepixie said

      You’re absolutely right about how advertising influences the way people think and react to things. That’s a big part of why I do this blog.

      The problem is, that it’s unlikely that the companies that make these products will change the message they’re sending because it’s a great message from their point of view. If women are ashamed or afraid of their periods, if they believe that it could strike at any time, and if it’s a subject that can’t be discussed, (much less revealed to be actually happening RIGHT NOW) in front of men, then they’re more likely to buy products that promise to protect them.

      Not just buy them, but both buy and use them in greater quantities than is necessary or probably advisable – just to be on the safe side. After all, if you believe that it’s going to ruin your social standing, your relationship with the guys in your life and possibly be more physically painful for you if you aren’t prepared, wouldn’t you wear a tampon even *before* your period starts, just in case it came early? (Of course, you may not have to worry about this at all, but the women in your life might think about it.)

      The problem is that wearing tampons for too long or too often is really dangerous and can cause serious problems. But at least they protect against sneak-attacking “Mother Nature” and her insidious red box, right?

      • Sometimes it scares me how often I have to take my girls to buy their femcare products, especially when they decide to buy it when it’s NOT on-sale. I understand that like getting gas for your car, there’s not really much of a choice but to buy when needed. However, if they took the time to scope out sales ahead of time, they can buy lots and cheaply. I always keep a stash of coupons too because slashing $1-2 here and there CAN really add up. I remember one of my ex’s would change quite frequently and in my opinion (which is from a guy’s perspective) was a poor way of managing her period. Some girls I know like to use a “one-size fits all” mentality and always use the same pad/tampon regardless of their respective flow. Instead, they should use what matches their expected flow, such as matching heavier-absorbency pads/tampons for their heavy days and smaller ones for their lighter ones. Unfortunately my ex had this bad habit of using the same ones so instead of her adjusting her pad to her flow, she’d adjust to changing more often (and thus creating more garbage for the sake of the environment). It is always nice to “keep fresh” but then there’s just “too often” as well.

        Tampons are definitely not meant for > 8 hour usage and “to be on the safe side”. On one hand, tampon manufacturers continually warn girls about the dangers of TSS, but yet, they promote the hidden mentality of using more/higher absorbency than required. However where they are smart is that by changing tampons more often, it reduces the risk of TSS and so, girls change more often! I have even heard of a few girls who wear pantiliners EVERYDAY – oh my god. I understand discharge may happen, vaginal wetness from being turned on or whatnot, but every day. Not having ever had a period accident (for the lack of a vagina), I cannot imagine how distressing it may be, but to be worried every moment that something “embarrassing” might occur is going over the line. That’d be me wearing a full-suit of body armor and carrying a gun because “I’m afraid anything might happen anytime.” Any time one of my girlfriends have had an accident with me before, I don’t make a big deal out of it and help them out so for them, they feel really comfortable… not sure about for other girls who feel it would greatly impact their relationship/social standing. I would imagine it is not the greatest experience to be told by someone that there’s a period stain on you, but life is like that – shit happens.

        Let’s just say your “average normal” body works on a regular cycle, it is fairly easy to predict upcoming periods, so wearing a pantiliner or thin pad beforehand is understandable. Wearing it all year around is crazy… unhealthy… and expensive. They’ve got all these young women scared, talk about an effective yet horrible marketing tactic.

  3. Eva said

    Welcome back to the 1890’s, now go lie in bed for a week while you bleed and suffer from excruciating cramps that the doctor will tell you are “normal.” *sigh*

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