International Issues: How FCB’s worldwide Tampax ads reflect cultural diversity - Alison Brower reveals how Tampax dealt frankly with women’s sanpro concerns

It’s ironic that Procter and Gamble’s announcement last month of a planned dollars 2 billion acquisition of Tambrands should have coincided with a first in advertising terms for the sanitary protection group. For the first time, it rolled out a dollars 60 million global Tampax campaign that took a frank look at women’s specific concerns about tampons in widely different parts of the world while, at the same time, uniting the brand under one theme: ’Tampax. Women know.’

It’s ironic that Procter and Gamble’s announcement last month of a

planned dollars 2 billion acquisition of Tambrands should have coincided

with a first in advertising terms for the sanitary protection group. For

the first time, it rolled out a dollars 60 million global Tampax

campaign that took a frank look at women’s specific concerns about

tampons in widely different parts of the world while, at the same time,

uniting the brand under one theme: ’Tampax. Women know.’



’You want me to put that where?’ American ads designed to encourage

first-time users asked, while commercials running in countries where

tampons are not the norm were far less direct but much more informative.

These had to address much broader worries, and answered such questions

as: Will tampons hurt me? Will they be reliable? Will tampons take away

my virginity?



To cope with the sheer variety of different issues around the world,

Tambrands and its agency, Foote Cone and Belding New York, arranged the

27 countries which would eventually be targeted by the campaign into

three broad clusters based on consumers’ knowledge and experience of

tampons.



Group one contained mature markets such as the UK, US and Australia;

group two, markets like Spain and Italy, which know about tampons but

still have room for development; and a third group - including China and

Brazil - which know very little about the product.



All commercials show a series of intimate, real-woman-style

testimonials, but in each area they talk about different subjects, each

in a very different way. In the US, for instance, where 70 per cent of

women use tampons but only 25 per cent use them at night, ads remind

women that eight out of ten gynaecologists say that women can wear

tampons for up to eight hours overnight. In contrast, Chinese

commercials go so far as to feature an animated demonstration, in the

top right hand corner of the screen, on how to to use the product. In

the UK, where comfort is more of an issue, Tambrands promoted its newly

launched Satin range, which features a smooth applicator and a rounded

tip.



FCB used traditional focus groups, as well as its trademark Mind and

Mood method, which surveys consumers less formally in their own

environments, to evaluate whether the ’real woman’ approach would be

effective around the world.



The creative team, led by the senior vice-president and group creative

director, Nanette Koryn, worked closely with local agencies around the

world to develop the campaign.



Ads were shot in South Africa and Spain and most only used women from

the country where the ads would air.



However, despite this huge effort, Madison Avenue executives are betting

that FCB won’t survive the sale of Tambrands to its new owner, P&G.

DMB&B New York handles P&G’s sanitary towel brands, Always (the US

leader) and Whisper, and P&G is known to be very loyal to its roster

agencies. All the same, FCB continues to mastermind the global push. ’As

far as we’re concerned, it’s business as usual,’ say FCB executives.

’The client is thrilled with the campaign.’