The XX Factor

British Maxi Pad Company’s Snarky Video Is the Greatest Thing To Happen to the Feminine-Hygiene Biz

“Caroline Williams,” fake CEO of Bodyform

Still from YouTube.

Making fun of “feminine product” ads is entry-level ad criticism. The blue water used to demonstrate the tampon or pad’s ability to absorb “liquid” (no mention of blood, of course)? The tendency of women to spin or climb to demonstrate how freely they can move (no mention of why they might not be able to move so freely)? Low-hanging fruit.

Still, when a bloke named Richard took to the Facebook page of Bodyform, a British company that manufactures maxi pads, to complain about misleading advertising, he earned some chuckles. More than 85,000 of them, in fact, judging by the number of Likes.

In response, Bodyform released what might be one of the most genius bits of corporate-produced satire I’ve seen. An actress, playing a fake CEO (since Bodyform doesn’t actually have one), berates Richard for destroying the feminine-hygiene industry’s carefully crafted illusions.

Fact is, Richard, you’re a few years late. Tampon and pad ads have actually gotten a bit better of late. U by Kotex’s spot with an alterna-lite chick deadpanning, “I like to twirl … maybe in slow motion … and usually, by the third day, I just want to dance,” was pretty excellent, as these things go. Before that, Kotex had experimented Down Under with a series in which women carry around beavers, with the tag line, “You’ve only got one.” Tampax’s “Mother Nature” series still uses the blue water, but there’s some humor there. Maybe in the United Kingdom they are still making tampon spots that, like herpes ads, seem calculated to hide what they are pitching. But the industry appears to be heading in a good direction.

So Richard, you’re behind on the times. But thanks for giving Bodyform a reason to make this video.