Tuesday, January 3, 2012

NZ tampon brand disses "fake" women

Kerry sent me this weird ad about womanhood:

The XOJane blog had a big problem not only with the apparent transphobia of the ad, but its overall implications for all kinds of women:
"If we’re assuming that menstruation is absolutely necessary, the implications don’t simply come down against the right-to-womany-ness of trans women, but also ANY women who do not menstruate -- and there are lots of reasons why a woman might not have regular periods (it's also worth noting that there are plenty of folks who do menstruate but who do not identify as ladies)."
After taking a lot of heat over the ad, Libra voluntarily pulled it, stating "Libra regrets any offence taken to our recent tampon advertisement. It was never intended to upset or offend anyone. Independent research was undertaken and the advertisement was viewed positively during that testing."

I can see how this happened. They created an ad for their target audience of mainstream, fertile young women, and tested it on groups of the same. But once the ad was out there (including on Facebook) it reached many more people than its intended audience. While the primary target presumably found the "fake woman" skit amusing and perhaps even empowering, other non-targeted audiences saw it differently.

A good lesson in the social age of advertising. There's no such thing as isolated segmentation anymore. Whoever can take the most offence to your ad will eventually see it, and complain about it, and share it. That's just the way it is now.

And that's probably a good thing. We're all getting to know each other much better than we ever have before. Acceptance comes with familiarity and empathy with people who are different from us.

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