• 07.17.12

Discharge In A Tea Cup? Frank-Talking Carefree Ad Stirs (Not Much Of A) Debate

A down-under spot doesn’t just use the V-word. It uses the D-word. But are audiences care-free about hearing real words that relate to real body parts and functions?

The “feminine protection” category long ago transcended its blue liquid phase–Kotex, for example, has centered its ad efforts over the past few years on normalizing period talk, with a web site that encourages frank talk and use of the V word.


But when it comes to TV commercials, are viewers ready to talk about discharge? Coming out of a vagina?

Apparently some Australian TV viewers aren’t, as some of them lodged complaints with the country’s Advertising Standards Bureau about this recent carefree ad featuring a woman (who appears, for some reason, without clothing) speaking frankly about a certain between-period phenomenon and how to address it.

The ad, created by agency 303Lowe is airing in Australia and New Zealand. According to NZ blog, Stop Press, the spot was based on a brief to educate women about discharge and to do so in a straightforward (and, not for nothing, attention-getting) manner (the blog notes the brand conducted research “that showed that 71 percent of Australian women admit to experiencing discharge while 66 percent are bothered by it.” We salute the zen attitude of that 5 percent.)

So far, the “backlash” seems like a bit of a non-event–according to news outlet 9 News, there were only five complaints after the ad aired two days ago (the most complained about ad, Lynx “Balls” earned 145 howls of disapproval).

What about you? Do you think talk of discharge should be limited to reminiscing about first-wave hardcore punk bands, or is this a welcome development in fem-hy marketing?

About the author

Teressa Iezzi is the editor of Co.Create. She was previously the editor of Advertising Age’s Creativity, covering all things creative in the brand world.