You notice you are feeling a little bit moodier than normal. Irritable and a bit down, with a hot feeling in your chest that you cannot extinguish. The smallest things annoy you. Your flatmate forgets to wash their dishes, someone forgot to buy milk, you drop something on the floor twice in a row, this goes on for a few days. And then you feel it, the dull ache deep in your lower stomach, which becomes more and more intense like that feeling you get from a dead arm, but transferred to your lower abdomen. You’re also breaking out and you feel bloated, fatigued and genuinely sick. Then, as you curl up on the couch in foetal position with a hot water bottle nursing your tummy, cursing mother nature for dealing you this monthly slap in the face, you switch on the television, and what do you see? An attractive lady in a pad/tampon ad, looking at the camera, sensually even, muttering something about absorbency as she proceeds to strut down the street in a mini skirt, and you think to yourself, ‘I hate this woman’. Period.
Carefree has taken a page out of the Vagina Monologues with a new campaign that aims to subvert the shame women feel about their menstrual cycles by encouraging an online dialogue about periods.
Tampons are difficult to advertise without offending some people. The Advertising Standards Authority’s 2012 annual report shows two feminine hygiene products in its top ten most complained about ads list for last year.
Stories about ASA complaints that weren’t upheld are generally the marcomms equivalent of ‘there was no accident on the bridge today’. But in the case of an advertisement for Carefree Acti-Fresh Panty Liners, otherwise known as vagina discharge-gate, we’ll make an exception, because none of the 18 complaints received will get to have their day in court.
Nike’s ode to greatness, quite possibly the best Olympic video ever made, a male response to the Carefree ad, Coke Zero and Ken Jeong massacre a classic, men throwing things with the other hand, what some believe is a contender for the most disgusting ad ever, cat herding: it is possible, how to capture people’s dreams, a catchy wee Japanese ditty, some pretty cool lettering, 50 Shades of Angela Merkel, what the Fox, 36 things for the ultimate opening ceremony and the Chrome Web Lab.
Here at StopPress we often start the week off with a frank discussion about vaginal discharge, so you can imagine our excitement when we saw an ad for Johnson & Johnson’s brand Carefree last night depicting a naked woman talking about the female body and the role of its new acti-fresh product. But, rather than beat about the bush, so to speak, and use the obligatory ‘patronising euphemisms’ often associated with the category, the ad features the word vagina, and it’s thought to be one of the first times it has been used in a New Zealand TV ad.