It was Spring, 2010. I was in the basement, doing my typical run/walk workout on my in-home treadmill, and keeping myself company with the nonsensical fluff they air on the E! channel (think anything Kardashian, Top 100 Most Shocking Reality TV Moments, etc.). I can’t watch anything too heavy while I’m working out because it’s physically painful to exert both my body and my brain simultaneously, so I was kind of half-watching the screen and half-monitoring my “laps” when this commercial grabbed my attention:
“How spot on!” I thought (no pun intended). Kotex understands that the feminine protection industry has for years bombarded the viewing public with ridiculous images of women reveling in the wonder of their monthly “gift.” But here, the brand captured every cliche used throughout the decades and successfully mocked it in a 30-second spot.
The commercial also had people talking (and sharing) via the social networking sites. It was certainly a breakthrough ad. I don’t know how it impacted the company’s business, but it certainly must have increased awareness for what I perceive is a second-tier brand – behind Procter & Gamble’s Always and Tampax.
However, what I’ve learned in the past two days has made me think Kimberly-Clark (the company behind the Kotex brand) really doesn’t understand me too well, after all.
They’re absolutely correct in that women have to find ways to sneak their feminine products into the bathroom when they’re in a public place. We don’t want to boldly announce that we have our periods – usually, the people in our lives can tell just by our uptick in crazy, tearful behavior – because there’s no way to walk around with a tampon or pad in hand and not feel like you’re revealing too much information about yourself.
So, tell me Kotex, how does wrapping a tampon in brightly colored plastic make it easier to hide the fact that we have our periods?
Oh! You’re saying we don’t need to be ashamed anymore because now our tampons are pretty. Also, women are a lot freer and less uptight these days. I get it!
We are a lot freer and less uptight these days. But does that mean we’re any less embarrassed by the fact that we’re on the rag. Some things don’t change, and no matter how bold and free I feel to talk about matters that used to be taboo years ago, I still don’t want the world to know my “friend” (or my “aunt.” Whatever…) is in town.
So, dressing up your products in bright, dayglo packaging makes it even harder for me to unobtrusively transport my tampon from Point A to Point B, and no matter how funny your commercial and no matter how cool you think you are, I’m not going to buy your product because it’s positioned as the cool, hipster brand.
Of course, it’s possible I’m no longer considered part of the target market. I hate to say it, but it won’t be long now before I won’t need these kinds of products anymore. And perhaps the new generation of women feel comfortable letting the world know when it’s their time of the month. I’d be interested to know if that’s true.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to slip my tampon in my sleeve at dinner parties and let no one be the wiser. Although I do tend to speak my mind, I like to reserve some room for a little mystery in my life.