A Social Media Mea Culpa

I don’t use this space to rant and rave about products or companies. Well, I haven’t yet, anyhow. Until today.

Let me preface by saying I have no professional affiliation whatsoever with this product. Beyond being – ahem – intimately familiar with its invaluable contribution to the lives of women everywhere. Every month. That’s right my friends I’m talking about tampons! Say it loud and say it proud!

More specifically, I’m talking about OB tampons, the great “disappearing tampon mystery of 2011”, and one of the funniest ‘I’m sorry’ campaigns I’ve seen in awhile.

Missteps And Mysteries

To back up, the story begins in late 2010 with mysteriously OB-depleted pharmacy shelves. When women realized that this wasn’t just a blip in delivery schedules, they frantically bought up what remained in bulk – in some cases selling them on EBay for upwards of $99.00 a box. Ultimately, the company stopped producing what was a hugely reliable line favourite – its Ultra line.

Hell Hath No Fury

People complained, message boards sprung up as answers were sought, and in what was a bit of an ass-backwards reaction, certainly in this day and age of rapid response word of mouth marketing and social media, the company kept quiet. And, well, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned! The OB ‘cult following’ as some media quaintly called them were outraged. And really, who can blame them. The feminine hygiene industry is a multi-billion dollar industry controlled by a handful of companies. They’ve never been particularly transparent, and have a history of infantilizing what for half the population is a very real and sometimes messy issue – an issue dealt with for three months out of every year. As one Toronto women was quoted as saying (and I say myself at least once a month :)) “If men had to stick something into their penis once a month, this would be a bigger deal.”

However, this is not some quasi feminist rant about monthly cycles. That’s for another blog. This is about me watching a hilarious and brilliantly conceived mea culpa by OB.

Red White And Blue

Fact: advertisers and ‘icky female products’ have never gotten along. And that’s putting it mildly. The early days were epic – “Kotex tampons are a lot like you. Soft and natural”. And this one. Now with deodorant! Best news of the month! (really?). And they didn’t get much better. Cheese ball ads with moms and best girlfriends, white clothing and couches, thins, wings, and sport products (uh, what?) and that euphemistically used blue liquid. (I would love to talk to the ad person who decided on blue).

Triple Sorry!

Yes, it’s a bit like shooting fish in a barrel to poke fun at girly products and advertising. And that’s why I wanted to give a thundering standing ovation to OB and their team. They finally got it – a day late and dollar short, maybe – but they understood that it’s never too late to say you’re sorry!

Not only are they working hard to bring back the Ultra product line that their customers have been clamoring for, they responded with a cheeky little video that masterfully sends up feminine product advertising – from the white pant wearing Ryan Gosling’esque crooner on the piano singing a personalized song ‘just for you’ (key in your name and see), to hearts and rose petals (RED ones!!), beaches, doves, triple rainbows, and the ubiquitous (white pant wearing) crotch shot. Oh man. They nailed it. And I love it.

So, three cheers to *OB tampons. And thanks for saying you’re triple sorry. Apology accepted.

*NOTE: I don’t use OB products, and have no affiliation whatsoever with them or their parent companies.

What are your thoughts on this ‘apology campaign’? Too little too late? Love it or hate it? Please leave your thoughts below!  

15 thoughts on “A Social Media Mea Culpa

  1. this post made me laugh at least 5 times! lol. Those old ads are hilarious. Kudos to O.B for responding to this in such a clever way. Wonderful blog post Lindsay, i loved it!
    (also you made me now want to find out why they DO use that blue liquid all the time. What is up with that?)

  2. Hey Josie! I’m so glad you liked it and that it made you laugh. As for those old ads, oh my god, I could have gone on and on and on just on those alone! hahaha If you ever find out who decided that liquid should be blue, please be sure and let me know – I’ll do a blog post update!!! Cheers, and thanks for stopping by, Lindsay :)

  3. What a hoot ! As a man, I’ve never used these devices, but, with a house full of women have been forced to purchase countless boxes of this and its’ equivalent. Now that they made this video (insert your name here) to thrice apologize, they need to issue an apology for that video. Signing about this stuff is so over the top it’s embarrasingly stupid. Great article though, Lindsay. Please don’t try shoving anything up (or down) my unit.

  4. Thanks JT, I promise never to approach you with said products in a threatening manner! LOL Maybe you have to be a woman to appreciate the sheer brilliance of that video – such a spot on send up of the whole, er, ‘thing’! :) Cheers and have a great day, Lindsay

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