Netherlands confronted in tampon ad; US networks aghast

  • Advertising
  • March 18, 2010
  • StopPress Team
Netherlands confronted in tampon ad; US networks aghast

Youtube Video

In the world of 'feminine hygiene products', sometimes known as 'tampons', there are certain advertising rules that have, over time, become engrained: weird blue liquid, euphemisms galore, unrealistic happiness, slow motion beach shots, dancing, basically all the things the above video parodies. But ad agency JWT and US tampon company Kotex decided to flout some those rules for a new campaign in an effort to 'get real' about 'that time of the month'. But everyone knows TV isn't about reality (unless it's 'gritty') and it seems there's no room for the horrible, disgusting v word on US TV screens. 

Three broadcast networks in the US said the ads, which included the word 'vagina', were too frank and demanded they be re-shot before they could be run. So, the phrase 'down there' was used instead. Even then, two of the three prudish networks (they're not naming names) still wouldn't run it, which, when erectile dysfunction products are now commonplace, has led to some gnashing of teeth.

Merrie Harris, global business director at JWT, told the New York Times: “It’s very funny because the whole spot is about censorship. The whole category has been very euphemistic, or paternalistic even, and we’re saying, enough with the euphemisms, and get over it. Tampon is not a dirty word, and neither is vagina.”

The Kotex website is also asking for honesty, requesting signatures to the 'Declaration of Real Talk'. Even better, you can make your own tampon spoof (that sounds rude).

Never ones to be vulgar, but passionate advocates of euphemism, StopPress is interested to know if readers have any better, perhaps more politically correct, terms that could be more appropriate for use in the tamponic advertising realm.

And, while we're on the topic of feminine hygiene, check out these Whoopi Goldberg fronted ads for Poise pads that ran before the Oscars.

Youtube Video

Youtube Video

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  • Media
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