an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Archive for the ‘Health and Science’ Category

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.


Posted in Health and Science | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Yaz: Confusing the Issue

Posted by Rosepixie on January 17, 2010

These are commercials for Yaz, a birth control pill, and all were found on YouTube after I’d been told about them.

This is the one that I’ve seen most often and is really the most random.

This is another common one, although is likely the one to have caused the issues for them later.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a version that hasn’t had immature comments written over the top.  If anyone has a link to one, please let me know.

The FDA noticed that their ads were… not so full of useful information and maybe a little misleading and ordered the company to try again.  They produced this ad with the “doctor” from the previous one to “clear up” any misunderstandings they may have caused by their previous ads.

I’m not absolutely positive where this ad falls in the sequence, but my guess is that it was made after the FDA made them change their ads.  It is basically the second ad with new voice-overs (not very well dubbed over) and makes even less sense, given the setting.

So… by the end of this… I’m less certain of what this pill promises to do than I was at the beginning.  And the fact that they said some things that don’t quite match what I’ve learned about PMDD from actual medical resources doesn’t reassure me any.

And why do birth control pills always show women living glamorous Sex in the City like lives without any hint of, you know, SEX?  Wouldn’t at least a relationship be a logical thing to show here?  Maybe a girl discussing it with her SO?  Why is it always girlfriends and why is the major selling point that it makes your periods regular?  It’s birth control.  Most women take birth control to not get pregnant.  While regulating periods is a real concern for some women and some do take the pill only for that reason, oral birth control is far from a side-effect-free drug and most women take it because it’s extremely effective BIRTH CONTROL and consider the cycle regulation a nice side effect.

But clearly I just don’t get it.

Posted in Health and Science | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Vintage Friday: Menstruation Necessities from the 1930s

Posted by Rosepixie on December 18, 2009

This is a set of ads from a catalog from 1934 for sanitary pads and belts used by women when they were menstruating.

I thought that this was particularly interesting because you can see exactly how the belts worked.  I’ve heard many discussions wondering what women did while they were having their periods before they had panties to stick pads to and before other options (like tampons and diva cups) were invented, so I thought that this was worth posting.  So the next question, after we know how pads worked, is: what happened if they leaked?  Well, I have an answer to that one too!

These are two different styles of rayon and rubber “bloomers” designed to prevent any leaks from getting on your clothes and embarrassing you!  I think this was a great solution, especially since washing clothes was sometimes much harder back then.  I also thought it was pretty funny how loosely fit the bloomers are, though.  It makes a lot of sense that they would design them this way to appeal to women of the time, but I doubt many modern women would be comfortable wearing panties that fit that way!

So there is the answer to what women did about their periods before modern technology (at least, what they did in 1934 America, I’m sure different solutions existed in different places and different times).

Posted in Health and Science, Vintage | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Posted by Rosepixie on December 10, 2009

Today I want to look at two different covers from the same book.  What to Expect When You’re Expecting has been in print since 1984 and has gone through four editions.  As far as I know, it’s gone through four covers.

This was the first:

The woman on this cover does not look happy or excited or hopeful.  She looks worried.  That doesn’t seem like the best visual message for a book about what to expect.  She also looks very old-fashioned or traditional, even for 1984, in her unflattering matronly maternity dress and rocking chair.

They decided to update the image a little with the second edition and came out with this:

So, Mom got a new hairstyle and wardrobe change here.  I like the hair and the wardrobe is slightly better, but she’s still got the rocking chair.  She also still sports the extremely worried expression.  Considering she’s reading what one assumes to be this book, that’s not very reassuring or encouraging.  If reading this book upset their cover mom that much, why should other moms buy it exactly?

But buy it they did.  This image remained on the book for the third edition, but the book continued to be a hit and word-of-mouth and parenting magazine recommendations did a lot for it.  So they needed a new, updated fourth edition.  This called for another update of the cover:

This is much better.  Mom is again sporting a new hairstyle and wardrobe, but far more hip and youthful this time, and she’s finally lost the rocking chair.  Not that I have anything against rocking chairs, but for some reason it was hurting the tone of the first two covers, I think.  This mom also has a big smile and seems genuinely excited about her pregnancy as she almost cradles her belly.  She does not seem worried like the first to moms at all.  She seems in control and confident (this suggests she knows what she’s doing and what’s happening to her body and baby – good messages for this book).

Recently a special edition of this book came out for Australia and New Zealand and it got it’s own new cover (the first local edition I’ve seen to do so).  This time we got our first photographic cover mom:

Again, we have a young, hip mom who is smiling and indicating that she is proud of her pregnancy.  Again she seems knowledgeable and confident.  I’m not sure that moving to a photographic cover mom was necessary, but this is a great cover – it conveys everything this book is trying to give it’s readers.

I agree that periodic style updates of the cover models on books like this that stay in print for over two decades is necessary – that first mom’s hair is in a common style from the early 1980s, but looks downright silly today.  I think that the first two covers are pretty bad, though.  The worried look on the moms’ faces sends absolutely the wrong message for this book.  I’m so glad that this book, which is reportedly one of the best of it’s kind, has fixed that particular problem and has used cover images showing moms displaying confidence and a sense of knowledge in recent years.  It suggests that someone realized the problem and corrected it.

Posted in Health and Science | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Charmin Ultra Strong

Posted by Rosepixie on December 1, 2009

This commercial was submitted by a friend of mine and is for Charmin Ultra Strong toilet paper.

No.  Just, no.  Seriously, what mom includes “bottom” on her list of body parts to inspect along with “paws” (hands) and “teeth”?  It’s just weird.  And more than a little creepy.

And if the best selling point you have for your toilet paper is that it doesn’t leave little bits behind on people’s butts when they use it, maybe you need to rethink it (or at least your marketing of it).

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Breast Cancer PSAs: Missing the Mark?

Posted by Rosepixie on November 21, 2009

These are two recent public service announcement ads about breast cancer put out by two different organizations.  Both are very recent.

This one is from the Men for Women Now Campaign:

This one is from ReThink Breast Cancer:

Both of these made me cringe.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for bring attention and respect to serious medical conditions that very much need more research, but I really have my doubts that either of these ads does much to further that goal.  I get that they’re trying to make young men care about a disease that they, personally, will never suffer from, but I really find this approach kind of offensive.  The first ad is decidedly less obnoxious than the second, but it still kind of makes it a joke and further “others” women, their bodies and any conditions they suffer from that men don’t.  The second ad doesn’t even acknowledge the women at all, it just reduces them to walking boobs.

This does not seem like a helpful or respectful approach.  What do you think?

Posted in Advocacy, Health and Science | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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.

Posted in Health and Science | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

Vintage Friday: Colgate with Mighty Mouse!

Posted by Rosepixie on October 30, 2009

This is an old ad for Colgate toothpaste starring Mighty Mouse!

This ad made me laugh so much!  It’s a bunch of cartoon mice jumping around on an aerosol toothpaste dispenser.  It doesn’t do much for explaining why you should brush your teeth, but it does make it look fun!  I guess that was a logical approach, seeing as this seems to have been aired during Mighty Mouse cartoons.  Still, it’s a pretty entertaining way to try and sell toothpaste!

Posted in Health and Science, Vintage | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Liquid Trust: Questionable in All Ways

Posted by Rosepixie on October 24, 2009

This is an ad found in a men’s magazine for Liquid Trust.

Liquid Trust 1

I had another ad for this same product, but I don’t have an image of it to share (it’s pretty boring anyway – a guy in a lab coat with a beaker of red liquid and a lot of text).  What that one says that I wanted to include with this image, however, is “new studies show that the human hormone Oxytocin fuels intimacy, reduces your stress in social situations and compels others to trust you.”

Now, I find this ad by itself pretty scary, but combined with that statement it’s even more creepy.  I’m sure there’s a fair amount of science behind this and the website states:

“We are strongly opposed to the use of Liquid Trust or any other thing for immoral or manipulative purposes. We truly hope that you will only use our products when you have only the best intentions in mind.”

It doesn’t feel like that statement is very genuine, though.  Now, perhaps it’s just the marketing department that’s truly putting such a creepy, controlling, manipulative spin on this product and it’s “virtues”, but since the marketing department controls the flow of information, that’s the impression the company is giving.  And while the handcuffs are a big reason for my creeped out by this ad, it’s not because I think handcuffs can’t be enjoyed by a couple that really does trust each other.  It’s just that I don’t think you can manufacture trust and I find the idea that they are selling such a snake oil product as a way to get women to submit to you willingly to be incredibly skeezy and morally repugnant.

Obviously, this ad isn’t meant for me.  Still, I feel like it’s incredibly manipulative in the same way that books like The Game are.  They promise that if you play manipulative mind games, all your most selfish dreams can come true and it’s all ok because you aren’t forcing anyone to do anything they don’t want!  It’s giving men a free pass to be manipulative and selfish and, worse, self-righteous if they don’t get what they want.  That’s not ok.

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