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Mar. 17 2010 - 5:27 pm | 6,304 views | 0 recommendations | 5 comments

About That Kotex Anti-Tampon-Ad Tampon Ad

When I first saw this Kotex commercial, in which a dark-haired, sarcasm-talking, refreshingly normal girl makes fun of all the ridiculous imagery in normal tampon commercials (girls twirling in slow motion on the beach; girls dancing together in a bedroom; blue water being absorbed), I knew it would set the Internets aflame.

So far, it has. It’s gotten the New York Times, the Sexist, and Feministing talking. All of the discussions have pointed out that despite the refreshing nature of the commercial, it still doesn’t use the word “vagina,” which is still weirdly off-limits even when discussing a product made for your vagina.

I’m not surprised that people are loving the concept of this commercial – whenever a person or company showcases its ability to make fun of himself/itself, people eat that shit up. The success of comedy ventures like Funny or Die, which posts mostly videos of celebrities mocking themselves in some way, is entirely dependent on this concept.

But as an ad campaign, I’m afraid I can’t jump on the bandwagon. It’s not that I don’t agree that the ads for feminine products are ridiculous. They are. But they’re ridiculous because in addition to taking a pretty gross and uncomfortable bodily function and making it look girly and whimsical, they say very little about the product itself, or why you should choose it. The Kotex ads only amplify this – they say virtually nothing about Kotex products themselves, or why any woman would want to use them other than because the people in their marketing department are sort-of clever.

It’s one thing when cultural critics like Sarah Haskins make (hilarious) note of the ridiculous ads targeting women; it’s another when the companies themselves do it for commercial purposes.


5 Total Comments
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  1. collapse expand

    Ms. Libby,

    Yes that was a helpful advance in the world “truth in advertising”. However what I am waiting for is an ad with men discussing the advantages tampons. I could see this going two ways. One is that tampons are actually used by many young men, those involved in collision sports, rugby, soccer, and especially wrestling. What works great on really blood nose – a tampon. Think about what it does for a vagina and then apply it to the nose. Experienced coaches keep them in the first aid kit. The ads practically write themselves. Imagine a bunch of jocks talking about tampons, how absorptive they are, how they make you feel fresh after a brutal but to the nose, and how no other feminine hygiene product works nearly as well. There could be big muscular guys wrestling about in spandex gear (conservatives “family values” guys in both parties are breaking into a sweat watching this), one gets a hard elbow to the nose and strikes a gusher. He arches back and head buts his opponent in the nose and it is red rain everywhere. The coach only has one tampon. The coach is paralyzed with indecision for moment – then the penny drops and he rips it in half and shoves a half up the nose of each of the wrestlers. Latter the three of them are sharing a beer, two still with half a tampon visible in their respective noses. “Tampons – The Real Man’s Best Friend”.

    The other angle is for guys, sitting alone in front of a white background in light pastel colored clothes talking to someone off camera, how great it is that their significant other of other gender uses tampons. He talk about the messy alternatives that have been tried and not been quite so successful and how tampons just don’t cause those problems, for her clothes, his clothes, or other bits of the household. The tag line could be “Tampons – Consider the Alternative!”.

  2. collapse expand

    Yep. I especially hate when the media refer to corporate activities–especially advertising–as “edgy.” Nothing they do is edgy, unless the edge is whether they will make money, or a lot of money.

  3. collapse expand

    They dont say anything about the product because everyone already knows how to use the product. they don’t need to! and just because something is gross is no reason to avoid it! hat about those foot fungus commercials or vagasil?! they get into it. People need to stop being “vagina’s” about period commercials. the next commercial they made under this campaign is even better. The girl lays out the manipulation of commercials and how she’s racially ambivalent and has great hair which makes you want to be like me so you’ll by the product. I loove it! it’s even better than this one!

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    I'm a Los Angeles-based writer and editor focusing on pop and politics, race and culture, and where Gen-Yers fit into it all. My writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, WashingtonPost.com, the San Francisco Chronicle and People magazine. Among other things, I'm Oregon-born, hip-hop-addicted, and weirdly optimistic that the journalism business will stay alive.

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