The evolution of tampon ads

23:48, Jul 29 2013

It's safe to say that tampon ads have come a long way...

In the Seventies, we had this snoozeville ad for 'scented' tampons (err... that's quite a specific area to 'scent'): 

"I'm very satisfied, I would never switch."

Then in the Eighties, the track funked-up a bit and women were encouraged to skip rope with telephone cords, dance in pencil-drawn rooms and throw off their trucker cap and carry their tamps around in a pink polyester pouch (thus, "setting ourselves free")... 


Pad ads were a far more sombre affair in the Eighties - as evidenced in this creepy montage that looks like outakes from some sort of Bates Motel controlling mother situation. Meanwile, the singer sounds like she's being held at gunpoint while trying to belt out the tune... "all the good times... *whisper* please don't kill me." 

Now, I've made you view the above beauties so that you can appreciate just how funny and refreshing this brand new ad for tampon subscription service HelloFlo is... 

"I'm a queen bee come get it."

This ad is definitely made by the despotic pre-teen girl who's taken her status as the first to menstruate as a power-grab. But it's also refreshing in that it is upfront about the reality of periods...

Gone are the soft focus laughs and ballet moves in tight white pants of the Eighties ads, and instead we see period pains, Dora the Explorer suffering from some sort of mucus malfuncation and yes, we actually hear the word vagina (because, really, that's what all of these ads are all about).

The creators of the ad said they wanted to be "open" and not "tip toe" like their competitors do, distinguishing the two minutes of hilarity from the other ads out there at the moment, which, while better than the Eighties offerings, "all feel like they're advertising gourmet food".  

"We came up with this idea over a bottle of wine and a bunch of Thai food one night," HelloFlo CEO Naama Bloom told Adweek. "I was listing out my insights about the period experience and shared the story of the girl at camp that my friends and I all turned to for advice. When Pete [Marquis, the co-writer of the ad] said you mean like a Camp Gyno?' we basically knew what we had to do. Only humour could tell this story in a way that would be relatable, endearing and shareable."

"A lot of girls don't go to their parents when they first get their period. They go to their friends. And a 12-year-old might not be the best source of information," said ad creative Marquis. "We ran with the idea from there, and thought camp could be a funny setting. And a girl who embraced the idea of getting her period and seeing it as an opportunity to become popular, instead of being mortified, was pretty funny, too."

Oh, but so this isn't just a hurrah for the modern era and bash of the Eighties and Nineties (which had plenty of merits), we'll leave you with this awful Noughties ad in which dancers mimic giant mid-slide in tampons. It's creepy yet sanitary in equal measure...