Tuesday, December 05, 2006


An open letter to Proctor and Gamble

Dear Proctor and Gamble,

At the risk of being rude, could I please ask just what the hell your marketing department has been smoking lately?

First, you come out with the Tide “the difference between smelling like a mom and smelling like a woman” commercial. This ad insinuates that mothers have an inherently unpalatable smell, but fear not because Tide with Febreeze laundry detergent will mask or even eliminate that unpleasant mother smell. (To see the ad, go to Tide's website, and click on "The Difference" under Tide Febreeze Freshness.)

Given that fresh baby is at the top of my favourite smells of all time, and Febreeze ranks somewhere after dog vomit and forgotten Tupperware container of month-old ravioli, I think I’ll do my best to keep smelling like a mother. If you think that ad was generally well received in the mothering community, you should read the 20+ comments on Ann Douglas’ blog, not to mention Ann’s excellent criticism. And don't even get me started about how there is no campaign about the difference between smelling like a dad and smelling like a man.

Second, what is the deal with the Have a Happy Period ™ campaign for Always pads? I can tell you I was nothing less than infuriated to tear into a new package of pads last night to continue mopping up the flow of blood after my recent dilation and curettage to see your chipper Have a Happy Period ™ slogan printed on the paper attached to the adhesive backing.

“Have a Happy Period”? Not so happy, actually. I was looking forward to not having another period for at least five more months, to tell you the truth. I can only imagine how much I would have hated to see that chipper little strip of paper staring up at me every single month while we were struggling with the pain of infertility. Months stretch into years, the desire for a baby grows into an obsession, and each month dreams are crushed by the arrival of yet another period. But wait, I feel better, because Proctor and Gamble is telling me to have a HAPPY period.

The “manifesto” on your Have a Happy Period ™ website says, in part, “This is the time when, if something is even slightly annoying, the world should know about it.” Look at that, I'm taking your assvice! This campaign is insensitive, trite, and quite a bit more than “slightly annoying”. And if anyone ever sent me a Have a Happy Period ™ e-card that said “feeling whiney, snippy and bloated? Try self-aware, concise and curvy”, I’d block their e-mail address.

I’m all for providing resources for educators and young women who may have questions, but I don’t think we’ve made much progress when we’ve gone from shaming women about their bodies’ natural functions to trivializing them.

Sincerely, DaniGirl

(with credit to the Pixies at the Whiner’s Ball)