As members of the 21st century, we have all had our experiences with media and have had our share of both witty and ridiculous commercials and ad campaigns. None infuriate me more, however, than the stupidly obnoxious tampon commercials that promote a happier period: one filled with moments that make you want to dance around in circles from the joy of mother nature’s monthly gift. Feminine hygiene companies such as Playtex, and Tampax, love to use this manipulative technique in order to make their product seem as though it can transform the unpleasant and often miserable feelings that periods can bring into a pleasurable, even fun experience.
Playtex Gentile Glide commercials show women in flowy dresses spinning around laughing incessantly and enjoying life as a direct effect (as the ad designers would have you believe) of using the product. Similarly, Tampax Sport features extreme acts of athletic ability performed by women who supposedly use their product, in an attempt to say that women who use tampons by Tampax can achieve the same feats (Tampax or not, I still can’t dive acrobatically or jump hurdles, just saying). Any woman that you will ever come into contact with will assure you that this is possibly the biggest load of crap that any advertiser will ever come up with. Newsflash: Using tampons don’t give you extra sporty abilities, or give you the free spirit to dance around all day without a care in the world. Your period doesn’t recognize that you are using Playtex Gentle Glide and magically decide to go easy on your body. That’s just not how it works.
This is simply a device (and a dumb one at that) that advertisers use in order to attempt to convince people that their product will some how make them a happier and more pleasant person. In Chuck Klosterman’s book Eating the Dinosaur, he discusses how Pepsi Co. tried to market its cola to Millennials by saying that their product would enhance the feeling of optimism that categorizes our generation. However, Millenials were completely aware that they were being targeted and that drinking Pepsi doesn’t really make you a happier person. Yet it still worked! Klosterman attributes this to the fact that “people like recognizing that they are a target market” and are genuinely flattered by the power that their consumption has over the company that they are purchasing from.
This is where feminine hygiene advertisements and this Pepsi campaign seem to diverge in their use of this manipulative technique. Viewers of Playtex and Tampax’s commercials are completely aware that the happiness purported by their project will not occur. In fact, the women dancing around in these commercials are not what convince us to buy their products. The fact that we NEED them is the true selling point. When I see commercials for feminine hygiene products, what is truly appealing to me are the features involving coverage and protection. Not the fact that using a certain brand of tampon will make me exceptionally good at sports or make me dance uncontrollably. I have grown accustomed to tuning that increasingly annoying part out. Kotex brand picked up on this and used it in their campaign, U by Kotex, to make fun of the ridiculous nature of most tampon commercials.
Why these advertisers continue to use these techniques when selling tampons completely astounds me. They really aren’t fooling anyone and women aren’t convinced to buy because of the ladies frolicking around in the commercial. It seems that women are already immune to these manipulative techniques and are more compelled by the distinctive features of individual products. Until these advertisers realize this, it seems as though we are doomed to witness countless dancing, giggling, and outrageously happy women that probably aren’t even on their period while filming the commercial.