Hello Flo ad raises cheers for frank talk

A tampon commercial featuring a honest 12-year-old is earning rave reviews. But some critics say it's unrealistic and 'abrasive.'

By Aimee Picchi Aug 2, 2013 12:02PM

A new ad for a tampon-delivery service may be the most frank-talking spot about menstruation ever created, and that's prompting both cheers and jeers. 

The nearly two-minute video for Hello Flo features a girl at summer camp who's unpopular until she gets her period. She then embarks upon a mission to educate and help the other girls learn and deal with their menstruation. She utters lines like, "I got my period! The red badge of courage!" 

The frank language and the girl's precocious delivery prompted Adweek on Monday to name it "ad of the day," pointing out that the commercial shows how advertisers and viewers are less squeamish today over feminine products and delivering words like "vagina."

Given the support for the ad -- it had been viewed nearly 4 million times as of Friday morning -- it's perhaps inevitable that some would cry foul over the commercial's portrayal.The Camp Gyno via YouTube, http://aka.ms/gyno

"The girl looks like she's nine. She's at least young enough to have a Dora the Explorer doll with her, and how she uses it in the video is a bit visually disturbing," writes Kathleen Volk Miller in PhillyMag.com. (The girl uses the doll in a menstruation demonstration.)

Miller adds that the girl's bossy behavior and tampon distribution "just doesn't seem plausible" and that some of her language is "creepy."

But a bigger question is whether the service is even necessary. The company is hawking monthly plans, ranging from $14 to $18, that deliver "the right amount" of tampons and pads. 

The deliveries also include "some delicious treats." (The site doesn't specify what the treats are, but calls them "fun and tasty.")

The boxes are delivered about three to seven days before a customer's next period, and clients are able to log in and change their expected period dates, if needed. 

But that might strike some as pricey, given that a 50-count of Kimberly-Clark's (KMB) Kotex sells for just $8 online. Add in a few candies or a Hershey's (HSY) chocolate bar, and you're probably not going to break more than $10 in monthly costs. 

Yet while the service might put a premium on tampons, the ad has helped spark a frank discussion about a topic previously hidden by allusion and innuendo. 

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.

More on moneyNOW

Aug 2, 2013 1:54PM

Two little boys walked into a drug store.  "May I help you?," asked the druggist.  "We'd like a box of Tampax, please," replied the older boy.


"Is it for your mother?," the druggist asked.  "No," the boy replied.


"Oh, then it must be for your big sister." said the curious druggist.


"No, it's for my little brother," the older boy replied enthusiastically.  "We heard on TV that if you use Tampax you can swim and ride a bike and he can't do either one yet."

Aug 2, 2013 1:54PM
I will do no menstrual jokes. Period.
Aug 2, 2013 1:09PM
Do moms just not even talk to their kids anymore?  Enough with the direct marketing to kids!  Please bring some class back to advertising!
Aug 2, 2013 1:55PM
The next ad was about a hand lotion...featuring 12 year old boys at the same camp...
Aug 2, 2013 1:37PM
What's the problem? When did we get the idea that bodily functions have to be something we "pretty up?" They're unpleasant, messy, smelly, etc. It's part of life!
Aug 2, 2013 1:49PM
Does anyone know someone who was actually excited to get their period? How about using a tampon during the very first one? Never happens! Its always a pad, and its always awkward and uncomfortable, and after the second time its a huge annoyance that a girl wishes would never show up again (but does at the most inconvenient times and situations) and lasts throughout most of their life.
I respect the fact they want to make it a less stigmatized occurrence, but think they could have gone about it in a different manner.
Aug 2, 2013 12:27PM
In a word--YUCK!--period.  First of all, how long were they at this camp that they could go from not getting their period at all to their cycles becoming regular?  And the demo with the doll is quite disturbing.  Where are the adults?  Girls don't cheer and high-five each other when they get their periods; the only realistic shot was the girl with cramps.  And the need for treats (chocolate is best!)  Don't worry girls, it only lasts for about 40 years!
Aug 2, 2013 2:15PM

A young female relative of mine upon being let in on the "mystery", & I quote "I'm gonna do WHAT?  WHERE?  OH HELL NO!  You get me a pill or a shot or something."

If she ever gets her hands on whoever's responsible......

Aug 2, 2013 1:57PM
Anyone who doesn't think this is realistic obviously has never had a frank discussion about periods in their life. It is not disgusting, it is nature. That is what happens. Deal with it. Billions of women do on a monthly basis. There is no reason to keep it some deep, dark secret because you are offended by how nature works. Also most girls ARE happy to get their period the first time (and gloat about it to others as all children do with something they have that others don't). Kids are always wanting to grow up fast and when a girl gets hers it means she is a 'woman' now. It isn't until afterwards they realize how they will hate it monthly for the next 40 years. Get over it people.
Aug 2, 2013 1:51PM
OMG.. Love it!  The ad is in your face and puts a spin on riding the crimson wave.  

Better than those awful and tacky health films that we watched in 6th grade.
Aug 2, 2013 1:56PM
Better than when all the boys in my 6th grade class had to leave the room to go play dodgeball for an hour while the PE teacher came in and gave the girls in the classroom "The Talk" and made them promise not to tell any of it to the boys. 1964
Aug 2, 2013 1:48PM

So, when is the first condum  demonstrative commercial going to appear,,


Good grief  isnt anything private anymore, and why is it alway the women that get to be embarassed on t.v.,, 


And I agree,, where are the parents, specifically the moms that used to have that " private conversation" with us, embarassed or not. 


Parents, speak up to your children,, quit shirking your responsibilites to your kids, quit giving their care and nurtering over to others, 

Aug 2, 2013 2:47PM
What an amazingly bold and daring commercial.  I remember when my first wife died, leaving me with three daughters, and one of my first random thoughts was, what am I going to do when they have their periods?  I was 27 years old, the kids were 4, 6 and 8.  Thank you, Tampax for breaking the taboo.
Aug 2, 2013 1:46PM
Aug 2, 2013 2:27PM
As a high school teacher, I've had girls approach me to privately ask to be excused to go to the restroom or go to the nurse for products.  I have found that most girls are very modest and don't wish to advertise.  It seems advertising companies are relieving parents of when they feel it is appropriate to discuss these personal issues with their children.  Young children may not be ready to hear what is a natural occurrence, and can become confused.  It seems nothing is private anymore and there is no respect for when parents are ready to discuss things.
Aug 2, 2013 1:54PM
I think this ad is brilliant.  Nothing wrong with speaking frankly or using the word "vagina" in advertising.  
Aug 2, 2013 1:54PM

The ad is like a movie trailer and very creative. The girl in the ad would make a good child actress.  Maybe the concept is a good idea for a movie aimed at pre-teen and teen girls or in an educational program to get girls talking about their periods .  Menstruation is happening to girls at younger and younger ages than in the past.  But I didn't like the doll demo in the ad.

Aug 2, 2013 1:49PM
omg i love it!!! this is awesome it also can give some self confidence when this does happen to them, and not to be so embarrassed 
Aug 2, 2013 1:46PM
Aug 2, 2013 2:33PM
Not as bad as the Trojan lubricant commercials they show during the day now.
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