21 October 2012

[branding] Bodyform: The Best Feminine Hygiene Advertising … Period.

There's a joke I learned as a kid. A version went something like this:
Did you hear the one about the kid who found a fiver on the street? He went to the drug store and bought a box of Tampax. When his friends heard, they made fun of him, but he said "Don't laugh! With Tampax, I can go horse-riding, water-skiing, bicycling …"
Yeah. I guess you had to be there.

I kind of wish I was in the room when the Branding Zen Masters™ came up with the following thing …

It's said (can ye believe everything that falls out of the intertuebz?) that a person who we shall regard as "Richard Neill" posted a rant to the page of Bodyform, manufacturers of a line of things we used to call 'sanitary napkins', which gave my mind no end of fits as a kid, because I know what sanitary is, and I knew what napkins were, but … well, anywhozzle … It was a soliloquy apparently on the reproach of a man who, upon learning the ins and outs of living with That Special Someone™and hoping to see the joy of woman from a closer vantage, instead, feels wronged. The whole rant is here, and it ends on the plaintive note:
Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving , gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform , you crafty bugger
Damn you, Bodyform! A pox upon your house (but just a small one, understand). 

Added venom and 360 degree headspin, it must be said, at no extra charge. Such a deal.

Forging ahead: the trajectory of the thing seems to be thus; the Bodyform company saw the rant and decided to embrace it with humor and aplomb befitting the finest in fine comedy. As the company said here, Unfortunately Bodyform doesn't have a CEO. But if it did she'd be called Caroline Williams. And she'd say …

Well, she'd say this: 

Yes, my friends, we have finally learned how to joke effectively about when Aunt Flo comes to visit. To think that I'd have lived to see the day. But it's an effective lesson in social marketing, and great comedy to boot.

The rant spread to Mashable, as did the reply, and the rest, as they say, is hystery. 

There are some, though, who wonder at the timing and the quick, highly polished response to the rant. Some of the posters at AdWeek, in the reply stream, think the whole thing is a bit pat. And maybe it is. I myself am torn about advertising these days. It's true, as Orwell has said, that advertising is "a stick rattling in a swill bucket", but another side of me says If you're going to waste my time, at least entertain me.

Well, I'm entertained.

Well played, Bodyform … well played. You earned a "like" from me.


Sherry Crocker said...

I have been highly entertained today thank you. I should look at your profile to see where you are from and how old you are. I sense a bit of British, aged 40-60. Or.. like all good trekkie, artists and writers who indulge in the puns... you've got a nearly encyclopedic memory and favor TCM.

And the squirrel on Bob's shoulder did make me cry.


Samuel Klein said...

Thanks for your comment and what a very charming thing to say. I'm pleasantly amused that you see a bit of British in me, I'm actually 100% native Oregonian, but I do find your conception of me quite flattering.

My memory is great on some things, and shabby on others, but I'm a veritable reference book on things I enjoy. I've often wondered if I don't have a touch of the high-functioning autistic in me, but then, self-diagnoses are fraught with peril.

I'll try to keep it entertaining. Feel free to traipse on by anytime.