Bons mots

Slips of my tongue

Ugh, I just got my [insert euphemism here].

Stumbled upon this little item on the Brand Week website:

Procter & Gamble’s Tampax brand announced the launch of MonthlyGiftClub on teen and tween Web community Stardoll to promote products for that time of the month. 

Taking its cues from a tradition in TV ads—in which women are shown wearing white clothing as a visual cue that a brand’s sanitary products are safe and absorbent—Stardoll club members will receive virtual versions of white swimsuits, dresses and other frocks when the club meets certain membership milestones, such as 10,000 or 50,000 members. The effort specifically promotes Tampax Pearl, which has a Leak Guard feature that purports to help women “outsmart Mother Nature” so they can feel confident wearing white.

Aside from the swag, Stardoll visitors can win prizes by creating virtual summer scenes, and they can receive free samples of Tampax products by clicking on an icon and entering their personal information.

As some of you know, I wrote a post in May about Always’ “Happy Period” branding. Well, it seems the folks at Proctor and Gamble continue to insist that the time of the month should be welcomed – nay, celebrated! “Monthly gift”? Does it come wrapped in a neat little bow, too?

This time, they’ve created a Second Life-type networking site where tween girls can create their own avatar and interact with each other in the virtual world (when they receive their monthly gift, I presume). And in white clothes! I don’t know what reality these marketing geniuses live in, but who wears white during a visit from their Aunt Flo? Every woman I know has experienced an “accident” involving the Curse and white pants/skirt/shorts. The embarrassment has been seared into our memories; I have a hard time even buying white pants, let alone wearing them.

Virtual summer scenes? How about one where your avatar ties a sweater around the waistband of her white shorts before running home because, oops, her period came earlier than expected? (True story.) Or, your avatar is laying on her virtual couch with a virtual heating pad on her belly, gulping down virtual Advil (hey Wyeth – found a product placement opportunity for you) while her friends are frolicking at the virtual pool?

While I applaud P&G’s foray into social networking, I not sure this was the way to do it. Is it really necessary? P&G enjoys a healthy market share due to its two oldest and largest brands in feminine hygiene, Always and Tampax. It also has a captive audience; like toilet paper, its products are a necessity. All we, the consumers, ask for are quality goods that do the job. Period. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) We don’t need colourful packaging. We don’t want condescending campaigns. Is it any wonder I switched to o.b. (aside from reducing the amount of plastic applicators in our landfills)?

I could be sneaky, log in to Stardoll as pose as a 13-year-old girl to find out more (and create a little havoc). But I’m too honest for my own good, so I decided to just blog about it.

I imagine my avatar would look something like this:

Look - she's wearing white!

Look out! She's wearing white!

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August 13, 2008 - Posted by | Spotted | , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. I totally agree. Here’s the things about social media – it should involve products that are MEANT to be social.

    The thing about marketing is that any company wants all of the their products to be a lifestyle choice and not just a neccessity. Particularly a neccessity tailored toward, erm, bodily fucntions. If you can’t think of one thing that is somehow social, fun and engaging about the product that you attemtpting to reach your audience with, DON’T USE SOCIAL MEDIA.

    Feminine products are one of those things. No amount of social media, digital media, whatever will make those products any more engaging, light, fun, fresh, youthful…it won’t happen.

    Sure they’re trying to sell the products, but if the need behind that product that drives sales makes your target audience want to curse their gender, then using social media as a tool is moot!

    And I will say it: a man probably came up with that concept.

    Comment by Meighan | August 13, 2008 | Reply

  2. There aren’t many routes they can take to differentiate your product from your competitors.

    Oh, I know – remove the bleach from your products.

    Comment by Bonnie | August 13, 2008 | Reply


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