• Clodagh Meaney

Tampon advert banned from Irish television following 84 complaints to ASAI

Bloody hell.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland banned a television advertisement for Tampax tampons after receiving 84 complaints.

The advertisement released in April of this year shows a chat-show style setting called Tampons & Tea where the host discusses how to correctly insert a tampon.

"So, tell me, how many of you ever feel your tampon?" the host began, before her guest shyly raised her hand.

"You shouldn't, it might mean your tampon is not in far enough, you gotta get ‘em up there girls," she continued.

She then began an on-screen demonstration of how to insert a tampon correctly which featured her inserting the tampon applicator from one hand into a circle created by the other hand to mimic a vagina.

Complaints received included that the ad was demeaning to women and suggested that they did not know how to use the product, or read the instructions; that it sexualised the use of tampons; and that it was not suitable for young children. None of these complaints were upheld.

They said that they "did not consider that the advertisement was saying that per se women were unable to follow instructions or use products properly."

Rather, that they targeted those experiencing difficulty using tampons by posing the questions 'So tell me, how many of you ever feel your tampon?'.

When it came to sexual innuendo, some complained that the phrases used in the advertisement to demonstrate using a tampon correctly such as "not just the tip, up to the grip” and "You gotta get ‘em up there girls" were sexual in nature.

However, the ASAI said that they were merely used to describe how to use the product correctly and that the demonstration that accompanying it was neither explicit or graphic.

Some parents complained that their teenage daughters felt great embarrassment about the advertisement, and while they noted that it may cause un-comfort for older children, the ASAI responding that the content was not inappropriate for children.

However, they did uphold a number of complaints that the advertisement caused "general offence."

"The Committee noted the Code required that advertising should not cause grave or widespread offence. The Committee noted that the advertisement, although light-hearted in nature, provided factual information in a manner that was neither explicit nor graphic."

" They did not consider that the advertisement had caused grave offence. They noted, however, the level of complaint that had been received and the concerns expressed by complainants about the advertising and considered that it had caused widespread offence. In the circumstances, they considered that the advertisement had breached Section 3.16 of the Code."

In response, Proctor & Gamble said that they "believed in normalising the conversation around periods through awareness, information and education," adding that the light-hearted advertisement had centred around educating people how to use the product.

They said the need for education became apparent after conducting an online quantitative test amongst over 5,000 women in different countries they found that between 30 and 40 percent of tampon users were not inserting the applicator properly, with 60 - 80 percent of occasional users experiencing discomfort occasionally.

60 to 70 percent of respondents said that discomfort comes the moment they began wearing a tampon which confirmed their theory that inserting tampons incorrectly was triggering the discomfort.

© 2020 by EMPWR

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