Tampon ad banned from Irish TV after 84 complaints made to ASAI
Some complaints said the advertisement had sexual connotations.
The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) has advised that a tampon ad should not be aired on TV in its current format again.
The advisory came after the ASAI received 84 complaints from viewers for reasons which said it caused general offence, was demeaning to women, had sexual connotations and was unsuitable for children.
The advertisement itself discussed the topic of tampons and addressed how tampons should be inserted correctly.
It used a mock talk show format and features a host asking the audience how many of them could feel their tampon. The host told those who raised their hand that they shouldn't feel it and "it might mean your tampon is not in far enough.”
The host said: “You gotta get ‘em up there girls”.
It then showed a pair of hands demonstrating how to prepare a tampon and how far it should be inserted.
The creators of the advertisement, Proctor & Gamble (which own Tampax), said that research had shown a need for education on the subject because "many consumers regularly felt discomfort all or some of the time when they were using a tampon, primarily because they were unsure how to insert the tampon."
Proctor & Gamble said the only country surveyed which did not back of their findings was Spain, a country where the company has been running advertising for many years which provides guidance to consumers as to the appropriate manner to insert a tampon.
Some of the complaints considered it to be offensive and inappropriate to talk about the topic in this manner and said the content had been over-descriptive, inappropriately expressed and with excessive detail.
The phrases used in the ad, such as “you gotta get ‘em up there girls” and “not just the tip, up to the grip”, were described by some complainants as "offensive, crude, vulgar, disgusting, unnecessary, embarrassing, distasteful, coarse, grotesque, inappropriate and over-descriptive."
Other complaints said the ad was demeaning to women through the language and gestures used. Some complaints said if "women had problems using such products, all they had to do was read the instructions on the box."
The third issue with the ad was that some complained it contained sexual innuendos.
Some complainants considered the phrase "get ‘em up there, girls” to have sexual connotations.
According to the ASAI, one complaint said it considered the language and imagery used may give the "false impression to young males that if young girls were using tampons that the likelihood was that they were having sex."
The complaint considered the wording, “not just the tip, up to the grip” in particular to have sexual meanings.
The final issue from complainants was the suitability of the advertisement for children, with some complaints stating it should not be aired before 9pm.
One person stated their teenage family members had found the advertisement "disgusting" and another complaint said their teenage daughters were "mortified" watching it.
In ruling on the complaints, the ASAI complaints committee said it did not believe the advertisement had caused "great offence" but said that following the volume of complaints received and the concerns expressed, it accepted it had "caused widespread offence."
It upheld the complaints the advertisement had caused "grave offence."
The ASAI dismissed complaints the advertisement was demeaning to women. It said it "did not consider that suggesting that some consumers had product usage challenges resulted in advertising content being demeaning, belittling or degrading to women generally."
It also dismissed complaints the advertisement contained sexual innuendos. The complaints committee said the language used was solely in conjunction with how to use the product correctly and that demonstration was neither explicit or graphic in content.
Finally, the complaints committee said the advertisers had taken steps to ensure the advertisement was not shown during children's programmes and noted, while there was the potential for some embarrassment for older children, the advertisement was factual and the committee dismissed complaints about suitability for children.
The ASAI said that the advertisement should not run in its current format again.