Have you ever seen an advert and thought… “who approved that?!” Well you’re about to see 10 of them. There’s no shortage of cringe-worthy period product ads out there; some historically sexist, some anatomically incorrect, and some just hilariously off-the-mark. Here are some we love to hate...
Swimming, running, playing sports, dancing, walking through the… desert, or something? This ad teaches us that there are so many opportunities to wear white from head to toe, and when you do, you DO NOT want to be caught without these tampons. If we had a penny for every time we went horse riding in pure white jodhpurs while on our period and got caught out… blimey!
Ummm… we have no idea what this French advert is talking about. It translates as "I am like a fish in water”, but we’re not sure of the message it’s trying to convey. Your vagina smells? Your vagina is like a fish? Don’t transport marine animals in your vagina? Whatever the message, the visual will haunt us for a long, long time.
Phewf! We were worried for a second there. It’s OK though ladies, you can use these ones even if you’re not yet blessed with a husband. Joking aside, this ad clearly came about as a result of the misinformation around virginity at the time; it was widely thought that by using a tampon, you could break your hymen (a thin piece of skin that partially covers the entrance to the vagina) and no longer be a virgin.
Today we know this isn’t true, but in years gone by these adverts served a purpose; to clear up the rumours and let girls know that they could use tampons even if they weren’t married.
Here’s another example of this misinformation at play, but unlike the last ad, this one is blatantly using it as a way to influence the use of sanitary towels instead of ‘internal sanitary protection’. It’s possible there was a little rivalry at play here, between the makers of the Mega Pad Belt (*gulp*) and tampon manufacturers. Today we can see it for its cheesy copy and incorrect information, but many young women likely based their sanitary protection choices on adverts like these.
Let’s start this one by saying; Serena Williams is a goddess, and can do no wrong. And she actually does spend most of her life wearing these little white tennis skirts, so it makes sense that in this ad she is so excited to have ‘shut out Mother Nature’s monthly gift’. That said, what is with the obsession with playing tennis in period care ads?
This is just one of many TV ads where the women depicted always seem to be playing (and winning) a game of tennis, as if that’s something we all do on a daily basis. This advert alone isn’t all that bad, but when you put it next to the hundreds of other tennis-themed ads out there… do TV execs know we can play other sports too?
These pin-up girls are supposedly whispering about the big secret that is their period. To be fair, most people today would still rather keep their period hidden if they’re in a bathing suit (a leak in the pool is never fun!) but this advert seems to actively encourage the secrecy of periods and sanitary protection.
Back in the day, nobody talked about periods (unless, it seems, you were whispering to your mate at the beach), and women would do a lot to keep their ‘secret safe even in a bathing suit’. We’re glad these days periods are talked about more openly - more of that please!
This poor man has paid for a room, only to discover that his lady friend is on her period. What darn bad luck! It’s tough being a guy when your partner is on their period, apparently, so we do hope he gets his money back for this swanky MOTEL room he hired for the romantic evening.
But hey, we can take a joke, so we’re going to assume that the ad execs knew what they were doing when they commissioned this one. We’re also going to assume that this guy’s partner is off playing tennis somewhere instead. Happy days.
We had to Google to see if these were real, and it looks like they were. Sanitary bloomers! As hideous as they are completely unnecessary. But then again, if Gigi Hadid wore them tomorrow they’d be all the rage once again. The part that concerns us most is where it says they are ‘made of all rubber’... yikes.
Another one that encouraged the needless hiding of sanitary protection, but at the time this innovation was probably pretty handy for those who didn’t want anyone to know they were on their period.
Nowadays many of us are happy to shout loud and proud about our periods, but there were legitimate reasons for wanting to keep your menstrual cycle on the down-low back in the day. For example, when society finally accepted women pursuing higher education or a career, rather than being assumed as a ‘housewife’, many likely wanted to keep their period out of the workplace so they were not treated differently throughout the month. Thankfully today we don’t have to carry our towels with quite so much secrecy, even if we’re at work.
Tampons for teeth?! Maybe this ad was a result of the Twilight hype, or maybe it’s a Halloween special, but either way it’s disturbing on multiple levels. As if Edward Cullen wasn’t already the perfect boyfriend, now he comes equipped for all your um… sanitary needs? *dry heave*
We’ll leave you with this timeless parody sketch from SNL called ‘Kotex Classic’, which we think captures the cringey essence of almost all TV ads for period products. Fun fact: Writer Tina Fey had to fight to get this onto Saturday Night Live because the men in the writer’s room literally had no idea what the maxi pad belt was. This will never not be funny.
Seen any other period ads that make you cringe? We’re always up for a laugh - shout out in our private Facebook group or drop us a note on Insta @itsyoppie. Don't forget that our personalised period box can get eco-friendly organic tampons, PMS supplements and more delivered easily and regularly through your letterbox. We don't even mind if you want to do something other than play tennis while you're using them. 😉
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