Stupid Advertising... Period!
Date Added: Aug. 31, 2007
In the days before the 'net, the biggest consequence of a bad ad campaign was that people might not buy your product. But, in today's world of e-mail and blogs, bad advertising can cause a buzz and create instant celebrities.
Dear Mr. Thatcher,
I have been a loyal user of your Always Maxi Pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuardCore(tm) or Dri-Weave(tm) absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.
Have you ever had a period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from "the curse”? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my "time of the month" is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call "an inbred hillbilly with knife skills”. Isn't the human body amazing?
As Brand Manager in the Feminine-hygiene Division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers' monthly visits from "Aunt Flo". Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend's testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey's Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy!
The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants... which brings me to the reason for my letter.
Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: "Have a Happy Period." Are you freaking kidding me? Does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness - actual smiling, laughing happiness is possible during a period?
Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick S&M; freak girl, there will never be anything "happy" about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local Kmart armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life i n a blaze of glory.
For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like "Put Down the Hammer" or "Vehicular Manslaughter Is Wrong", or are you just picking on us?
Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bull shit.
And that's a promise I will keep.
This humorous editorial was originally titled "An Open Letter to James Thatcher, Brand Manager, Proctor and Gamble" and was, indeed, written by Wendi Aarons of Austin, TX. It was originally published on "Timothy McSweeny's Internet Tendency," an online creative writing journal site, in March 2007. The version above contains several edits and additions from Aaron's original, which you can read at the link in the references below.
Aarons is a former advertising writer turned humor essayist who is getting ready to publish her first book. The "Open Letter" above can also be read on her blog "They're Not All Gems," which contains several amusing anecdotes about marriage, parenting and just being a woman in today's world.
Quite often, chains like this one get forwarded to me with the question, "is it true?" Some versions contain the note that Aarons actually sent it to Procter & Gamble. This would be the only verifiable fact, since the rest is humorous opinion. Unfortunately, Aarons gives no indication on her blog that the letter was ever actually sent, though it is possible that one of the surely thousands who have received it via e-mail may have forwarded on to P&G.
References: Wendy Aarons: They're Not All Gems