I could have loved tampon ads years ago!

[I wrote a piece for The MediaOnline on HelloFlo, a new player in the fem-care category. Check it out]

The euphemism and blatant exaggeration in fem-care ads has, for years, been ludicrous. For that reason only, I have hated ads from that category! And unlike most men, the products do not make me uncomfortable. I am one of those metrosexuals who do not easily get uncomfortable and I could scream ‘tampons’ without batting an eyelid. It’s the bad advertising that got me. So from the time I knew I hated all sanitary pads & tampons adverts, I decided to ignore them. This of course was until recently when vibrant new player, Hello Flo, brought some serious promise for fem-care.

Hello Flo is an online subscription service for women that has been on the lips of many in the USA. Although its service is revolutionary and category-defying, it is the advertising that has been the hot topic in the interwebs for the last two weeks. Throwing around words like ‘vagina’ and ‘menstruation’ in a YouTube ad, this new entrant has brought much needed fresh new messaging to the category.

About 1minute and 47 seconds long, the ad went viral, garnering over four million views within four days of upload. Its protagonist is a young girl at summer camp who feels like a loser because no one knows her, that is until she gets her first period. Being the first of the girls at the camp to experience this, she becomes a leader, a ‘Queen B’ who schools the rest of the girls on menstruation.Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 9.22.53 AM

She soon assumes the role of ‘Camp Gyno’ and even calls herself a ‘Joan of Arc’ for the ‘vag.’ But her popularity bubble bursts when she starts becoming unsympathetic and mean. All the girls stop coming to her for advice and instead start receiving timeous care packages. She finds one in her ‘Camp Gyno’ office with all the necessities, including candy sent by, according to her, a ‘Santa for the Vagina’.

This short film, done by Hello Flo owner, Naama Bloom and her two friends, BBDO creatives Pete Marquis and Jamie McCelland, smartly packages the Hello Flo brand. The ad works because it is so refreshingly honest. The commercial also captures people’s individual experiences with menstruation and packages this comically. This clever framing strikes a chord with not only the young girls but also with older women, and advertising men like me.

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