This guest post is from Mindy, a regular commentor here and a contributor to the For Battle! group blog.
The Gruen Transfer last night revealed that men in advertising still don’t understand ‘lady bits’. Jane Caro did her best to educate them, but still the level of ignorance was surprising. Perhaps what surprised me most was Todd Sampson’s (CEO of Leo Burnett ad agency) attitude to panty liners – he couldn’t understand why pregnant or menopausal women would want to wear them. For him they were a triumph of advertising to get women to use something they didn’t need.
Perhaps he has never been near a pregnant woman? For me, panty liners during pregnancy were all that stood between me and uncomfortably wet undies. I haven’t reached menopause, but assuming that my vagina doesn’t spontaneously fall off when I do, I’m guessing that, at least on occasion, I will still wish to use panty liners.
Then the panel discussed ‘shame and fear’ in the context of night pads. Wil Anderson suggested that perhaps shame and fear were marketing tools used to create a problem where none existed. Jane Caro assured them that the problem well and truly already existed and that these products were actually solving the problem, but the shame and fear discussion went on regardless. It is really no wonder that sanitary product ads are so bad when the voices of those who actually use them seem to be so often ignored. Maybe it’s just me, but in a discussion about advertising sanitary products I would assume that you would see the person most likely to use them as somewhat of an expert in the field, but not so last night.
There was a discussion of the beaver ad, posted on Hoyden previously, and Jane Caro (whom I have a whole new respect for) said that she liked it because for the first time it made her feel like it was okay to be a chick. Apparently it is one of the most complained about ads this year. Unfortunately they didn’t go into the statistics of who it is complaining (I’m betting it’s not
So my question is twofold: one – how could these ads be done better, and two – what else have we been convinced that we need that perhaps we don’t really?