an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Posts Tagged ‘tampons’

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?


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

U by Kotex: Getting Real with Periods

Posted by Rosepixie on April 27, 2010

If you’ve ever had a period and seen an ad for period products, you probably think they are laughably ridiculous.  They are.  I have no idea who makes those ads or why they think they’re a good idea.  Seriously, people, what is wrong with the whole “feminine hygiene” industry that we can’t even SAY “vagina” or “period” or “blood” or anything else AT ALL in most of these ads?

Apparently Kotex gets it, because they have a totally new approach with their new line called U by Kotex.  Not only are they talking about it, but they’re making fun of the fact that no one else (including themselves) really does otherwise.  Check out some of their great new commercials.

They also did these great “social experiment” ads to show how clueless people are about periods and all things related to them.  They are absolutely fantastic and well worth watching.

It’s just baffling some of the things people say in these videos.  But I have to give U by Kotex major credit for doing all of this.  They have a website full of frank information and discussion, questions and answers, submitted videos and other media from fans and more.

This is an incredible marketing campaign.  It is doing what I haven’t seen a single other campaign relating to anything that goes even near a vagina and is marketed to women do.  This includes birth control methods, whose ads usually don’t even say what the product’s primary purpose is (they focus on things like it making you happy or worry-free or regulating your period or reducing PMS, but rarely actually say anything about preventing conception), yeast infection products (which rarely even say what a yeast infection is and never say where it occurs) and all kinds of period-related products.

This campaign considers women who actually have periods and what it feels like when you’re having one, how varied an experience it can be, and how incredibly ignorant most people are on the topic.  It is definitely trying to sell a product, but it’s doing it by being a little more honest and a lot more real.  How many women actually dance around in white dresses while they’re having their periods?  Not a lot.  And I’ve always wondered about that stupid blue liquid.  It’s not even a useful consistency (unless your blood is blue tinted water, but I’m betting if you pricked your finger and checked you’d find that it isn’t).

Basically, this campaign is making ads making fun of the cultural fear we have of menstruation (which is really nonsensical when you think about it) and, unlike all those ads with perfect women who are still happily doing ballet in white spandex during their periods, U by Kotex is suggesting that it’s ok not to be that way – that you’re perfectly normal if you don’t feel like twirling on the beach in a see-through sun dress when you’re having your period.

And that message of normalcy and it being ok is really important because while there are women who are happy doing those things, there are women who aren’t – and there’s nothing wrong with them.  That’s fine.  Not wanting to wear a bikini even when you have a tampon isn’t weird.  And all the white?  That gets old.  Not wanting to wear white doesn’t suggest you aren’t clean, it just means you’re practical.

But the problem is that we’re discouraged from talking about this stuff – it may be normal and natural, but it’s been deemed “icky” by society so much that it’s seen as more desirable to medically remove ever having a period even if there are problems with doing so for some people than it is to just talk about it openly and make it less scary and mysterious.  And it’s something absolutely not acceptable in mixed company.  How many women do you know who would be willing to openly discuss their periods with a guy?  Even a guy they know well.  I’m guessing not a lot.  And I’m guessing a lot of the guys would rather it stay that way!  But it would probably be healthier for everyone if it didn’t and I, for one, and thrilled that U by Kotex is making a tiny step towards changing it.

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

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 »

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 »

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 »