an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Vintage Friday: O.B. – It’s Way You Should Be

Posted by Rosepixie on May 7, 2010

This is a commercial from the 1980s for O.B. tampons.

Ok, so this commercial manages to hit nearly all of my pet peeves for tampon commercials all at the same time!  It’s actually a pretty good jingle – the kind you remember and that gets the product name into your head.  Unfortunately, it contains absolutely no information of any kind.  The voice over isn’t much better.  It tells us about how the tampons are “rolled in layers” (with a helpful little cartoon graphic to illustrate this point), but doesn’t tell us why that’s good.

And through it all, we have women wearing primarily white spandex (one is even in a bathing suit) jumping around doing completely random things (seriously, what’s with the jump-rope telephone?).  Because white spandex and jumping and high kicks are *exactly* what I think of when I think about menstruation.  Not so much.

What this commercial doesn’t do is tell us what the product is for (what’s a tampon?) or why it’s better than any other tampons (yeah, it mentions layers, but not why or even if that makes the product work better).  It says happy, generic things like “keep it simple” and “set yourself free”, but doesn’t explain them.  How is O.B. simpler than anything else?  How does it set you free?  Is it more comfortable?  More reliable?  Cheaper?  Easier to use?  More discrete somehow?  And, again, what exactly is it?  We never see the product or get to hear what exactly it’s for – we just see a picture of the box and a graphic that looks like a blanket being rolled up.  So what exactly is the way we should be?  Because I’m confused…

The best I can figure out is that this is a product that will let me live in a happy two-dimensional black and white line-drawing world where strange things like telephone jump-ropes exist and everyone jumps around and dances all day.  That doesn’t sound like a tampon – it sounds like a drug.  Or maybe a whole lot of alcohol.  Either way, not really the way I want to be.  I like my colorful three-dimensional world.  How about you?

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