A Tampax ad that staged a mock TV chat show where the "host" encouraged an audience to "get 'em up there, girls" has been banned by the advertising authority as "offensive" after 84 complaints.
The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) upheld the complaints, stating the ad had caused general offence, but it didn't agree it was demeaning to women, was unsuitable for children, or included sexual innuendo.
The British advertisement depicted the chat show "host" animatedly asking her audience how many could feel the presence of a tampon - and if they could feel it, that meant it perhaps wasn't "in far enough". "You gotta get 'em up there, girls," she tells the audience.
Some complainants to the ASAI described this phrase and another, "not just the tip, up to the grip," as "offensive, crude, vulgar, disgusting, unnecessary, embarrassing, distasteful, coarse, grotesque, inappropriate and over-descriptive".
The advertising body received complaints that the ad was demeaning to women, that it was unsuitable for children and contained innuendo. Those complaints were not upheld.
Other complainants said the ad was over-descriptive and had been expressed inappropriately with too much detail.
In its decision, the ASAI noted that, according to the ASAI Code, "advertising should not cause grave or widespread offence".
It went on: "The committee noted that the advertisement, although light-hearted in nature, provided factual information in a manner that was neither explicit nor graphic."
The ASAI said it didn't consider the ad had caused grave offence. But it felt, given the number of complaints and the issues expressed by complainants, that the ad had caused widespread offence and had thus breached the code.
A Tampax spokesperson said: "We are disappointed by the decision made by ASAI to adjudicate against our recent Tampax and Tea advert. At Tampax we believe in normalising the conversation around periods through awareness, information and education. This advert was designed to address a very common usage question and to educate how to use the product correctly in a straight-talking way, which we felt this advert did.
"We will cease to show this advert now in Ireland in line with the authority's decision."