I saw this commercial for the first time yesterday. Initially, I started looking around my living room for cameras. The commercial was so ridiculous I was certain I was being punked. Several seconds in, however, I realized this was actually a spoof of just how silly tampon ads can be. By the end of the commercial I was laughing out loud and so proud of Kotex that I was ready to change brands. (Come on Tampax, surely you can think of something witty too.) Kotex is even brave enough to make fun of itself. The clips mocked in the spot are actually from old Kotex commercials.
Question: Do you feel a little squimish reading this because I’m talking about tampons? Knowing Georgia Mae readers, probably not, but I’m sure there’s probably a handful of you hoping this post is going to turn to a different topic soon (sorry, it’s not).
This new marketing campaign by Kotex is not only meant to parody some of the conventions of tampon advertising but also be more frank about menstruation. The website behind the campaign states: “People are so freaky about periods. What gives?” The mission of this new U by Kotex brand is to “stop all the weirdness about periods” and to stop the promotion of tampon and pad ads that have nothing to do with real periods.
Jos at Feministing.com wrote yesterday that, “When a company's tampon ad mocks its previously criticized ads you know feminism is working.”
But we still have a long way to go. The New York Times reports that the commercial, created by the company JWT, was originally going to include the word vagina, but Kotex subbed in the term “down there” after the spot was rejected by three networks. After the substitution two of those three networks still shot down the ad.
“It’s very funny because the whole spot is about censorship,” Merrie Harris, global business director at JWT, told the NYT. “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.”