My Tampon Ad Post. Really.

Ok. I’ll be the first to admit it. I don’t know much about tampons. Never really needed to, being a guy. I’ll even admit that, when tampon commercials come on TV, I don’t generally watch. Let’s face it. I’m just not their market.

Well, that all changed. Today.

Ok. I’m still not their market. But I wish I had a photo of myself when the spot was over. I’m sure the look was one of disbelief mixed with epiphany. At that moment, it occurred to me. All these years, I hadn’t been watching them for the wrong reason. It wasn’t that I wasn’t their target. (Really, am I in the market for any new HP technology right now? No. But I watch the new ads every time they come on because they’re great.) The reason I haven’t watched the ads is that they were just horribly boring!

So far I’ve found two ads in the U by Kotex campaign. Here’s the other one.

Brilliant! In some ways, even better than the first one. It’s wonderfully snarky as it masterfully attacks the clichés. It’s so direct, I wonder how any self respecting tampon manufacturer would ever be able to run that kind of commercial ever again. J. Walter Thompson, Kimberly-Clark’s agency for the Kotex brand, is responsible for this ad. The funny thing is: the agency is also responsible for countless other ads just like the one these ads mock. For tampons, and maybe a few other products, too.

It makes me wonder how a person who could actually benefit from using this product would react to this campaign. From a pure marketing perspective, it’s wonderful. It cuts through the clutter, rewards repeated viewings and makes a bold branding statement. But unlike the Old Spice campaign I wrote about here and here, it’s so specific to the female target audience; I might be completely misjudging its effectiveness.

So, ladies – a little help here. Is this campaign the fresh knockout punch in this segment that it seems to be?



Filed under Advertising & Marketing, Branding, Marketing to women, TV Commercials

4 responses to “My Tampon Ad Post. Really.

  1. AC

    Loved this post.
    The “I want to dance” spot was eerily Saturday Night Live spoof-ish. It also reminded me of some other “man behind the curtain” type ads; one for a long-distance provider/cell phone company (?) where the perky blond in her kitchen almost whispers an aside something like, “I’m an actress in a particle-board house….bye hon…(I don’t even know their names!)” Another somewhat similar recent promo for Cervical Cancer awareness (funded maybe by the controversial vaccine?) features a young woman mesmerized by a shimmery substance, which she follows, to find the object of her desire, a blindingly lit perfume bottle, is labeled “Cervical Cancer.” This one is the ur-example, to me; it exposes the “feminine fantasy” style, with a slap.

    • It’s always life-affirming for me as a marketer to see ads that tell the truth. And when that kind of social commentary doubles as a possible paradigm shift, then it gets my full attention.

      Thanks for your comments!

  2. PR Girl

    While I do find the “upfront” approach of the first ad refreshing in it’s honesty, as the mom of a teenage daughter, I’m not sure I appreciate the way younger members of the target audience may miss the subtleties and internalize yet another message of unrealistic expectations. While young girls definitely have an attitude when talking to each other, the last few seconds almost have a bullying tone that mirrors much of what is unfortunately happening in tween/teen/twentysomething peer groups. Bottom line, they nailed it, but I’m not sure the delivery is what the younger targeted women really need. It also just falls flat relative to the humor and visual buffet of the Old Spice ad, yet hauntingly feels like it was somehow trying to take the same approach.

    The humor in the second spot is so subtle that I loved it. I think you have to see it a couple of times to really appreciate the goal. I think it will appeal much more to the upper end of the target bracket.

    • You certainly bring a perspective I never could. I appreciate it.

      I hope that younger female viewers will see the first message for what it is: an indictment of the traditional approach and attitude. They are exposed to that kind of unrealistic comparison all the time, minus the irony. Hopefully, they see that in this spot.

      With the second spot, it’s harder to miss humor throughout. But that may make it less jarring and ultimately diminish the impact. As I said, both are great as pure marketing. But I appreciate the perspective on how they could be specifically interpreted by the female market.

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