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Posted on 05.27.2010

Kotex Ad Goes Against the Flow

I, for one, appreciate a witty commercial when I (finally) see one.  Especially one that pioneers a movement toward honest and informative branding in the feminine hygiene industry and that is precisely what Kotex has done with their “Break the Cycle” Campaign. Recently Kotex released an ad that “breaks the cycle” from the standard tampon commercials which customarily have portrayed women as carefree and effervescent during their periods (i.e. women running on the beach in all white or the slogan, “Have a Happy Period…”…). Check it out: The new commercial starts out with a girl sitting on a chair describing her menstrual experience: “How do I feel about my period? … I love it. I want to hold really soft things, like my cat. It makes me feel really pure. Sometimes I just want to run on the beach. I like to twirl, maybe in slow motion. And I do it in my white Spandex. And usually, by the third day, I really just want to dance. The ads on TV are really helpful, because they use that blue liquid, and I’m like, Oh! That’s what’s supposed to happen!” This monologue, alone, is hilarious and resonates with all women.  But even more genius is the montage of clips from former Kotex ads appearing throughout the commercial, some of which have been shown in the United States or Europe as recently as last year.    I like the way the company pokes fun at itself and acknowledges that Kotex was among those brands that had wrongly depicted women’s periods in past ads. The New York Times recently quoted Merrie Harris, global business director at Kotex’s marketing firm, JWT, saying “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…” In closing, the commercial poses the question, “Why are tampon ads so ridiculous?” Kotex has done what no other tampon company has done before: go back to Advertising 101 and know your audience which, in this case, is women.  For years, tampon ads have catered to a squeamish male audience.  In doing so, they have failed to relate to their target consumer and created an unrealistic notion of what women are really dealing with.  I commend Kotex for its bravery and honesty.  Do you think the rest of the industry will follow suit?

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