Bodyform is a producer of feminine hygiene products and on October 8th a man named Richard Neill posted the above message to their facebook page. In his message he is actually employing rhetoric while criticizing the advertisers. His main argument is that in their advertisements they depict a women’s period as a “happy” period. He employed both logos and pathos to explain his position. First, the advertising offered him information which caused him to believe that women are “happy” and active during their periods but he learnt from first hand experience with his own girlfriend that this was not the case – instead she became “the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin.” I’m sure most men empathize with Richard’s position and find the euphemistic content of feminine product advertising misleading when they consider their own partner’s “time of the month.”
This play on words is actually very clever index and metaphor used in most feminine hygiene product advertising. When a women menstruates it is known as a period and the advertisers have taken the term’s literal meaning of a space in time and applied it in their advertising so that the viewer correlates a women’s period with a happy time. A lot of advertisers exploit this metaphor.
However, Bodyform was not deterred by this honest feedback and they produced a video debunking the myth of a “happy period” in advertising. One of the first symbols you note upon beginning the video is the iconic blue water; present in any pad commercial. This item becomes part of memoria because it refers not only its use in advertising but is also present at both the beginning and the end of the video poking fun at television ads which use this water to simulate a period – because it literally is only water. They also cleverly included their own jingle at the end of the video as the CEO’s ringtone which is an icon of their company.
The Caroline Williams delivers the speech (pronuntiatio) using humor, sarcasm, irony and sardonic wit. Throughout the one-minute video she agrees completely with Richard. Yes, they lied and they’re sorry but they did it because men could not handle the truth of periods; this transfers the onus for their deceptive advertising away from Bodyform and towards men. She also humourously and cynically points out when he forgot certain points of their advertising. The speech was organized using dispositio where she began by apologizing, stating the facts of why their advertising is presented the way it is, and concluded in a funny manner by again emphasizing how men are disillusioned about the bodily functions of women; signified by her farting.
I think from the women’s perspective we have always understood the function of the advertising for feminine hygiene products. They show us that despite the challenges we face we can still cope. The ultimate, covert, message of the video is that the advertising has been created the way it has so men could cope with periods because if we accurately portrayed what occurs to women when they menstruate men would freak out as shown in their “market testing.”
Grooming codes were presented in the video with the CEO looking organized, neat and proper; she looks the part. Her facial expression remains serious and her body language controlled which also adds to the humourous undertone of this video.