Friday, October 2, 2009

Team Playtex: A Coach in Your Box!

The other day I helped myself to a tampon from the courtesy basket in the ladies bathroom. As I was extracting the feminine product from its packaging, I realized I was reading. There on the wrapper, was a small phrase:

“You’ve got the power!”

Come again? A task that normally takes 30 seconds turned into a good five minutes as I sat in my stall pondering the meaning of a motivational phrase on my tampon.
Back at my desk, a quick Google search revealed its source: Playtex. The new “Sport Tampons” are made from special materials designed to give women confidence when their bodies are in motion so they can be stronger athletes. Popeye had spinach, we have Playtex.

It’s not that I take offense to the idea, I just think it’s stupid. But with my curiosity piqued, I bought my very own box of Sporty Tampons to see what other messages Playtex thought I would enjoy – after all, as an avid triathlete and spinning instructor, I am their target audience.

Some choice phrases from my primary research:

-Be passionate
-Life is short…get in the game!

-Practice your victory speech!

My victory speech?

“Hello everyone…” (Pause to tap microphone). “Is this on?” (Nod to tech support). “Thank you. I would like everyone to know, I couldn’t have gotten this tampon in without the help of my pointer finger."

Let’s look at “Be passionate.” What the hell does that mean? I’m not sure I care to be passionate when it’s that time of the month. And furthermore, I’m not sure Playtex is the brand that I need to hear from if I change my mind. Are we going to see vibrating tampons on the market soon, to go with the vibrating razors and mascara wands already out there? Ridiculous.

“Life is short…get in the game” Oh, Playtex. Why?

We are smart women who do not fancy the vagina as some kind of alternate media channel for your sporty branding campaign. You could have come up with something more useful than generic iterations of, “Go Team!” At least with a Snapple cap I end up with a useful piece of trivia to share.

Let’s talk about the box itself. We have a carefree woman in lime green, vamping on a backdrop of pink. I love it when feminine hygiene products go for this look. As if having one’s period is so fabulous that you can’t help but dance, it’s so wonderful when it arrives!

I only ever feel this way when I’m late and I’m treated to a day or so of inner “Holy crap” monologues where I imagine becoming the mother of a child I didn’t plan on. In that case, I would benefit from tampons with messages like, “You so can’t wait to use me,” or, “Enjoy those skinny jeans while you still can!”

What if you’re not sporty? Can this be like the Carebears with a genre for everyone? Is there a Playtex Goth? Playtex Fat Ass? (Perhaps the wrapper could double as a coupon for a free Happy Meal – everyone’s spirits being so high and all).

What about Playtex Spinster? I can see the phrases now:

-Tick, tock.

-Did you feed your cat?
-Life is short…you have no game!”

In television the term, “jump the shark,” is used when a show has gotten so ridiculous that the plot and characters have reached their peak and everything goes downhill.

Playtex, you’ve jumped the shark.


The Singlutionary said...

Ah. Jump the Shark. Shove the Tampon.

iol. said...

ah.... but think of the "alternative" .... if you had a husband and kids to take care of, you would never have had the TIME to notice, search, reflect and form opinions etc ..... you would have been too busy just surviving the time trap .....


Clever Elsie said...

I wish feminine hygiene products would quit it with the cutesy trend already. It's not just Playtex. Lots of brands are emblazoning their products with little inspirational quotes and fluffy sparkly rainbow bunnies. Could it be any more obvious that men are running these companies?

RunLikeAGirl said...

Very funny. As if there isn't enough talk back already, now our tampons have an opinion about our lives :-)

Anonymous said...

Found your blog when searching for motivational phrases for my Spin classes. I'm certain that I love you. Let's hold out hope that more cute phrases on more products will bring those products to the point of Chinese Fortune cookie insanity. Yeah, just stop with the cutey menstrual products! News flash: all those clever little wraps don't trick anyone or hide that you're carrying a panty liner. Men can identify the wrappers too.

Anonymous said...

In a similar vein, I was just reading Bright Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich, which mentions the possibly infantilizing of women breast cancer patients with all that pink cutsey merchandise. She points out that men with prostrate cancer don't get gift baggies with matchbox cars in them.

Also, I once ended up with some "women's" condoms. (Long story.) They were no different from "men's" condoms except they came with a pink-trimmed carrying case. It was insulting but undeniably cute.


My Divorce Shower said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather-Marie said...

Isn't this just more proof that MEN are dominating in the field of tampon marketing? And who would've thought there would be such a career as "tampon marketer" anyway. If a woman were working on these silly marketing campaigns wouldn't the wrappers say things like "stop with the bleeding all over your best undies already!" I love it - "Team Playtex: A Coach in your Box!" You make me laugh out loud.

Spinster Leese. said...

Great comments, gang, I'm glad we all agree that "messagey" tampons suck. I'm waiting for something TOTALLY ridiculous to come out from the male marketers in this industry - like an app for the iphone that you can aim at women to figure out what they can consume to be less "moody" during that time of the month. Can you see it? Men aiming phones at a woman's lower abdominal area stating, "Ah, yes. My iphone says you need a Snickers bar and a nap."