'Fishy' tampon ad exonerated

By By Wenlei Ma | 17 July 2012

A Kimberly-Clark tampon commercial has been vindicated after the Ad Standards Bureau received a sole complaint which accused the ad of comparing menstruation to the smell of fish.

A small segment of the ad for Kimberly-Clark's U by Kotex brand depicts a goldfish in a leaking plastic bag. A member of the public which took offence to that particular image wrote in to the ad watchdog: “The inference is that female leakage smells like fish.”

The complaint was assessed by the board under section 2.1 of the code which deals with discrimination or vilification on the basis of gender.

The board dismissed the complaint. It wrote in its judgement: “The board considered that the advertisement presents legitimate concerns that women may have when menstruating and considered that the use of the leaking bag containing a fish has been used in the context of a visual ad.”

Kimberly-Clark had written in its response to the complaint: “This scene is intended to be a strong yet simple and non-confrontational visual demonstration of 'leakage'. The goldfish in the leaking plastic bag adds to the visual demonstration and strongly depicts the 'fear' element of this insight. Nowhere in the script do we mention 'smell' or odour.

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