These vintage commercials show ads for feminine hygiene products used to be really, really weird
Why was everyone in the 1980s so happy about their tampons?
Period ads are weird, this goes without saying. They’re strangely coy, they use a lot of blue liquid, and everyone is much happier than an actual woman has ever been while on her period. But they’ve come a long way. In fact, back in the 70s and 80s, advertising for feminine hygiene products was even stranger.
What are deodorant tampons because they sound amazing. Also you used to get free shampoo with tampons! Where are those heady free sample days now that I’m spending all my dolla on them?
It’s hard to relax while I’m watching this advert because I can’t stop thinking about the cat. Why is she holding that cat? It doesn’t even look like a real cat? Is it a stuffed cat? What the fuck is she going to do to the cat?! OK try not to look at the cat. Look at the huge toxic shock syndrome warning flashing at the bottom of the screen for the duration of the ad. Take care of your vagina, or else you might end up dead, woman. Just like this cat.
Playtex, early 80s
I’m all for showing that women can actually do stuff when they’re on their period – someone tell that guy who was worried about Hillary Clinton – but it’s a little weird that we haven’t actually seen the tampax in any of these ads yet. They’re safely boxed up and hidden away while we’re distracted by jingly music and women who are oh my god literally so fucking active you have no idea. I thought we were squeamish these days for not being able to show red liquid on sanitary product ads (that blue stuff isn’t fooling anyone) but turns out it was once even worse.
I literally would not be surprised if this was not, in fact, an ad for Tampax but the start of an eighties softcore porn film. The lighting is so hazy and the music makes me sad but I don’t know why. Maybe I’m close to my “special days”.
I’m her big sister. I’m her little sister. We’re both 45.
Tampax with Courteney Cox, 1980s
Guys, IT’S MONICA GELLER. If Monica Geller can get through her period and pull off those legwarmers, we can do anything.
I’m learning a lot of things from these vintage ads. For instance, in the 80s, women really hated sanitary pads, and really loved tampons. I bet it’s got nothing to do with the fact that tampons are more expensive. Nope.
On the upside though, tampon jingles used to be absolute fucking bangers.
If someone stopped me at the supermarket and demanded I buy a box of tampons from their massive tampon display I would be a lot more unhappier than this woman.
If you’re a young girl in the eighties and you’re worried about your tampon, this advert will make you feel better. Because it reminds you that you can just be worried about your face and weight instead.
Maybe its her husky American accent. Maybe it’s the way she keeps saying “I like that”. But I trust this woman and I don’t know why. I’m going to go out and buy some Playtex tampons right now.
Procter and Gamble, 1980
I bet you forgot to be worried about toxic shock syndrome, didn’t you? FOOL. NEVER STOP WORRYING ABOUT DEATH. Here’s a woman to reprimand you for that. The 80s were seriously terrifying.
Always, late 1980s
By the late eighties advertisers were still too terrified to show actual pads on TV, but they’ve at least progressed to diagrams. It’s easy to be distracted from that though, because all of these women are wearing hats. Maybe the hats are supposed to distract you.
This woman looks like a young Hillary Clinton, and it makes me trust Hillary more.
Ostensibly, this woman is happy that she’s telling her mother, uncomfortably, as they walk through what appears to be a bank, about her choice to use feminine hygiene spray. But she’s not really selling it, she sounds monotone and sad. Even the guy at the end doesn’t sound thrilled to be selling it. I suppose you wouldn’t be.
Procter and Gamble, 1970s
Say what you want about the advances in advertising but this woman is wearing white trousers while on her period and that convinces me more than any feminine hygiene ad in 2016.
WOMEN DOUCHED IN THE SEVENTIES? The past was wild and I’m so grateful I don’t live there.