Funny How Different Things Look When It's that Time of Month


Always is running this campaign where it's printing feel-good phrases like "Have a happy period" over the wax paper on maxi pads. We didn't think much about it until we saw this letter, allegedly written to P&G by a woman gone totally apeshit over it. Her first thought upon tearing open a new pad and seeing "Have a happy period" was "Are you fucking kidding me?"

A really sunny excerpt:

FYI, unless you're some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything "happy" about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local Walgreen's armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.

We giggled about it.

And then it happened.

We were chilling on the corporate couch, trawling a Limited Too magazine in hopes of finding a branded tee big enough to make us feel small. Lo and behold, we see the ad at left.

Dude. That's a flower made out of curled maxi pads. Next to the words, "Pick fresh."

We're not really sure what happened next, except to say it all went horribly wrong.

Pick fresh.

Okay, Always. You've been in the business a long time. When we first got our periods, it was probably your merchandise we reached for (with wings!). And we take it for granted that advertising -- particularly your advertising -- is going to glamorize a product that isn't necessarily glamorous.

But we have certain boundaries of belief. Women on their period will believe Flexi-wings on a maxi pad, or a light flow napkin shaped to fit into a thong, actually make a difference. They probably don't, but okay, whatever. We'll buy the wings. We'll take the thong-shaped napkins.

There are some things we refuse to believe. Some things just inflame us.

See the flower at left? The one that says "Pick fresh"? There is nothing fresh about being on your period. You can take pills to numb the pain, you can be risque and wear white pants for as many hours as you dare, while horseback riding! -- but there is nothing fresh about it.

On the few days our bodies tell us that no spawn has grafted onto our insides, we have two options: one, to push a hard nub of cotton into our bodies with a piece of plastic shaped like a syringe; or two, to slowly and miserably secrete fluid onto an item whose sponsor has made painstaking efforts to convince us it is not a diaper.

Neither of which is fresh.

There's something really wrong with this campaign. Something dark and malignant. Few are the days that we get to act like Shannon Doherty with a Get Out of Jail Free card, so "Have a happy period" and "Pick fresh" are not sentiments we're receptive to.

What sadist composed this demonic feel-goodery? Whom do we blame with the fire of a thousand fallopian suns?

Wait a sec.

And then it hit us: we're reading a Limited Too magazine. The campaign, however demented in nature, is targeted to 'tweens. Hence the horrifying music, garish colors and challenged copy of the subsite.

Most 'tween girls have no idea what having a period is like. Like the Margaret of Judy Blume's sick imagination, they wish for it. Pray for it. Lie about having it.

For a little girl who's waiting to be legitimated into the culture as a bona fide teen, the notion of getting a period is happy indeed. Okay, Always. We get it now.

So tell us how we can get these deluded for-'tween-only messages off our grown-up feminine hygiene materials.

by Angela Natividad    Mar- 3-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Opinion, Strange, Trends and Culture   

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I hate all those commercials concerning female time of the month. But with half the worlds population needing some type of pad once a month they are here to stay.

Posted by: John Calkins on March 3, 2008 11:01 PM

Wow. They need to hire the letter writer.

Posted by: Richard Becker on March 3, 2008 11:55 PM

After working with a sex education agency dedicated to creating healthy dialogues between tweens and their parents about puberty, I love to see positive messages about periods. Frankly, I would rather see a panty-liner flowers than complex lists of symptoms or references to diapers. We've come a long way since Courteney Cox first said "period" on television, and we've got a long way to go!

Posted by: Leona on March 4, 2008 2:26 AM

I agree that periods need to be discussed openly; apparently there are a number of girls that have problems but don't get the medical help they need because of the stigma with feminine hygiene. I felt like their messaging was akin to wishing someone luck on a horrible, mind-numbing, 3-hour test, which, even though I don't use always, I appreciated in that I-know-they-are-marketing-to-me,-but-I'll-take-sympathy-from wherever-I-can-get-it sort of way.

Posted by: Kat on March 4, 2008 4:23 PM

I did find the flower to be disturbing though...

Posted by: Kat on March 4, 2008 4:26 PM