Mar 14, 2008

Nice beaver

The new ad for Kotex's "U" brand of tampons has created something of a storm this week. Rated M, it features a young woman on a day out with her furry, cartoonish pet beaver, with the catchphrase "You only have one/For the ultimate care down there".

The Advertising Standards Bureau received a "large number" of complaints after it was first aired on Sunday night, and there have been calls for the campaign to be pulled. I am glad to see, however, that the ads remain on air, at least for the moment.

I thought this ad was a cute and inventive way to advertise tampons. Certainly a lot more engaging that those old ones featuring women swimming, or playing tennis, or riding bicycles, because their tampons just make them feel so free and active. Or that recent Libra Fleur one where the dumb boyfriend was using the tampons as dangly temptations for the pet cat. What was that all about?

Quite frankly, I think people need to lighten up a lot about vaginas. For some reason, while the penis is widely accepted and admired, vaginas still seem to scare people. They seem particularly upset but what is really just a natural function of that part of the female anatomy. Surely the playful comparison to a beaver is fairly harmless? Surely viewers would be a bit more squeamish about a tagline like - "You bleed from the vagina, so use Sphagnum-Brand Super-Absorbo-Pads!"

Imagine if an ad for a personal men's cream or similar product featured a man on a day out with his friendly "trouser snake". They'd laugh together, have a meal, perhaps enjoy a Jessica Alba movie. Would the catchphrase "Because every man needs to look after his trouser snake" offend people as much? Somehow, penises are more socially acceptable than vaginas, despite the fact that they continue to be uglier and far more basic in design.

I can think of half a dozen ads for various deodorants or mens' magazines that I find ten times more offensive than the Kotex beaver ad.

I get the feeling those people complaining about this ad may have the view that ladies don't "talk" about "those sorts of things". Well, you know what? I'm proud to have a beaver, and I'm sure it would love to receive a gift of Kotex anyday. After all, have you seen the cost of tampons lately?


  1. I do like that ad, and it is kind of weird that people are pretending to be offended by it. I mean objectively, what's so offensive about a furry puppet? If you're old enough to know what the beaver reference is, then you're old enough to be confronted by the knowledge that women know…those things.
    But what’s with the “uglier and far more basic in design” comment? Let’s not be hating on the trouser snake.
    - The taking of Beasley 1-2-3

  2. I liked the kitten ad... it was cute and the the first of the "joke" ads moving away from the tennis and surfing and cycling type ads.

    I don't have a problem with the beaver ad, but then again, I've heard people go off about the very *need* to advertise such ladies requirements. I couldn't back away from the "If I have to pay so damned much for them, I wanna know why they think their brand is better" arguement.

    It never ceases to amaze me what grown adults think shouldn't be discussed on occasion.

  3. I haven't seen the ad but it sounds quite clever and is certainly better than the horse riding girl on the beach.

    The ads that I don't like on the radio are those erectile dysfunction ads that were played over and over and over again. The TV ad with the two guys playing the piano is quite funny. Lucky for me I don't listen to much radio these days because of listening to podcasts.

  4. I love this:

    "Quite frankly, I think people need to lighten up a lot about vaginas. For some reason, while the penis is widely accepted and admired, vaginas still seem to scare people."

    I completely agree.

  5. Some time ago there was an ad with a girl and her small dog. She calls her dog and it comes through its doggy door, closely followed by a larger dog...which gets stuck.

    Not one man I have ever seen it with or remembered it to understands what it is about. Every woman did. I love that about it.

    If you've not seen it the message was about different sized tampons. I don't recall it causing a stir, and in context it's rather... graphic.