I think the worst job in the advertising world in the 80s would have been writing ads for feminine hygiene products.  When you think about it it was probably men who wrote these ads.  Possibly it was the account that got handed to the solitary woman in the team, but I like to think of some male ad exec getting handed this simply because it’s funnier.  The people who write these ads seem to fall into two camps, that use two different techniques.

Technique One: I have my fingers in my ears and I’m going lalalalalala

At least there’s one thing I don’t have to worry about?  Sure.  Exposure, wolves, death, the meaning of life – still a pressing concern, but “the time of the month”?  Sorted.

The classic technique of the male advertising exec who has a product he doesn’t want to talk about.

Technique Two: I am woman hear me roar

I’m really unsure about the before and after shots in this ad.  She seems pretty down in both.  Becoming a woman doesn’t seem to have cheered her up any, but somebody at least turned on the light in the room.

This advertising guy really connected with his subject.  Admirable, but somehow I wish he hadn’t.

Just like you wish I hadn’t posted this.


17 thoughts on “Awkward”

  1. Many a time I was just about to curse having a period, then I’d end up dangling from an parachute and realize, gosh darnit’… life was good. I can’t believe that is a real ad.

    You are a brave man for posting this, hilarious!

  2. This is really funny. But I actually once knew a man who wrote ads for playtex’s tampon. He was young and cute and didn’t like to admit what he did for a living.

    Yes, I’ve known some very odd people. That’s why I move so often.

  3. Oh my God it sucks to be a woman sometimes. Not because of this stuff we need (cough, cough) but that we need to see ads for stuff we need. The parachute one? That ad wizard really thought hard there. Or perhaps he (yes, it was a he) was just recalling that old “blonde” joke about the parachute accident due to the dumb blond woman pulling the wrong cord. Cute. Thanks, ad wizard.

  4. See, JP, it’s stuff like this that made me decide to nominate you for an Awesome Blog Content (ABC) Award.

    You may have had one already – frankly, i can’t be bothered to go look 😛 – but if you accept the challenge, you have to acknowledge the nominaor in a post (that would be me), write something witty and/or insightful about yourself with the letters of the alphabet (or at least take the lazy route and just stick to A, B and C) and then nominate some other worthy winners.

    You can read my post here –

    As always, it’s a pleasure to read your fine blog, sir!

  5. Good on you JP for venturing into this sensitive subject once more.
    Today I got asked by a student why I was referring to “spells” and not “periods”. I had to explain thtat some schools prefer not to call lesson times periods anymore as it is embarrassing for the girls. They just laughed. I mean what is in a anme after all? Just like advertising.

  6. Lesson from the second Tampax ad – set your mind at ease by wearing a crimson leotard. Also, I totally send away that coupon on the Tampax ad (and it came with a bright pink plastic travel case), though Johnson & Johnson’s starter pack was a million times cooler.

  7. Shucks. Thanks. I had a long day at work yesterday, and went to bed. I look forward to reading the post.

  8. OMG – I was totally wondering how bad the info sheet would be. As bad as sex education in schools? Was it THAT bad?

  9. I thought this was a common problem for women, the parachute thing. Of course I’m just a man.

  10. There is a slight suckiness here for being a dude too, because most of these ads seem to have attractive women doing sporty things and looking happy men tend to walk into these ads expecting something else and then WHAM! Still, doesn’t touch the suckiness for being a woman when confronting these ads.

  11. Thanks. I have been having long days at work and then working to the wee small hours so there has been some slippage with the blogging (the reading and the writing). This sounds great. I look forward to reading your post, and it will be no problem to rave about your blog which I think is fantastic (and quite moving).

  12. And yet, strangely, I work at a girls’ school and that is what the lessons are called, periods.

  13. Well these days if you have daughters and they go to a “with it” primary school, parents get invited to go to the “Girls Talk” with their daughters one evening when they are in Year 6 and around 10 or 11 to prepare them for the arrival of “you know what”. It is usaully facilitated by a Public Health nurse who has all the obligatory anatomical diagrams and models, and a good Q & A session with the girls to put to rest any “Old Wives Tales” they may have heard already. Then there is the demonstartion of sanitary products. These are also passed around the room along with the booklets published by the manufacturers of these products. There are also many free samples to take home or coupons to send off for!

    In the end you feel like it is going to a tuperware party and a certain producer of the products is doing a huge promotion job on their merchandise to this emerging young market sector.
    They try to demystify it all but at the end of the day this is not a fun time. It marks the beginining of the end and the start of that difficult transition into puberty for girls and their parents. Just you wait JP – it is all heading your way and sooner thatn you ever want it too!

  14. This post reminds me of a recent marketing campaign that’s been doing the rounds. Johnson & Johnson stopped making its ‘o.b. Ultra’ tampons in Canada in 2010, sparking an outcry from users and a run on the tampons on websites like eBay. So J&J brought Ultra back with a “moving and interactive apology”. You can go to the company’s website and type in your name (and if you’re in NZ, wait a while for everything to load…) and enjoy…

    Here’s the site:

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