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Are Feminine Brands Their Own Worst Enemy?

The latest “Lady Products” ad in Australia has stirred some controversy amongst women everywhere. The new SOFY Be Fresh sanitary pads ad – “Ugh Moments”— is supposed to play off of the gross feelings a woman gets during her monthly flow. Instead of empowering with honesty, the commercial’s emphasizing of typical PMS stereotypes almost feels degrading.

The spot shows a woman confronted in the mirror by her less-attractive (and larger-sized) “period counterpart.” So much for praising real beauty at any size. The counterpart then goes through an emotional montage of behavior, laying under pillows on the couch, arguing with her cat, breaking up with her boyfriend on the phone, angrily disliking things on Facebook, and yelling at the pizza deliveryman. The last scene shows the original woman driving away and the crazed alter-ego character running towards her car in a rage.

Social media has helped spread this Aussie ad around the world, with many outraged by the misrepresentation of women. It’s easy to see why: the messaging categorizes women to be something we have been railing against for a long time. Yes, periods may not be the most glamorous times and PMS may come with the territory, but I think SOFY Be Fresh took a wrong turn in their intended humorous execution. What puzzles me the most is how many feminine hygiene brands, not just SOFY Be Fresh, miss the mark with their target buyer. Remember back in 2010 when Kotex launched an unrealistic campaign showing women (supposedly having their periods) dancing around in white spandex? Please.

SOFY Be Fresh can take some pointers from brands like Always and Dove, whose inspiring concepts are more relatable to women of all walks of life. The lesson here is simple Marketing 101: feminine brands, if you make your target market look like raging, unstable lunatics, do you really think they’ll buy your brand?

~ Jazmine Rodriguez, AAE, The S3 Agency


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