Stay Tuned/16 March 1997

From Eccentric Flower


stay tuned

16 March 1997
(Sunday Papers)

Not much in the paper this weekend. I found a number of items (like some new cheese snacks from Wise which are shaped like happy faces, and a truly atrocious-looking Easter bunny cake) which disgusted me, but I couldn't think of any other reason to include them besides that, so I didn't.

"Trust Is Tampax"

We might as well start with the ones which are likely to offend people's sensibilities, and get them over with. This is an ad for Tampax Naturals. The little items with the pointers all say "100% Cotton." Oh, look! Tampax (the Microsoft of feminine hygiene) has finally figured out that all-cotton is good! And non-applicator, no less. Tampax's answer to o.b., this is.

Incidentally, a small and more earthy-crunchy manufacturer of tampons, Natracare, alleges that Tampax's "100% cotton" claim is false. Tampax's box says the tampon is 100% cotton, but they don't identify what goes into the cord.

Oddly enough, this is a big deal. Cotton is apparently less likely to promote toxic shock, so this claim means something. o.b., for what it's worth, is not necessarily all-cotton, and has never claimed to be. A look at an o.b. package shows that they play the "Oreo game": the tampon may or may not contain cotton, rayon, or a combination thereof.

(I read about this little controversy on the Museum of Menstruation site. Don't laugh, it's good. Read it top to bottom. The News & Notes pages are the best part; here's the one with the Natracare item.)

Toilet Humor

Here's the other potentially offensive ad, but after all that, I'll just let this one speak for itself.

Parts Is Parts

One of these things is not like the others.

The problem with selling these patties of compressed breaded food is that they don't really look good in any context. They can occasionally be edible, and I'm not really knocking the product ... but this photo does not appetize me.

Soup Is Good Art

This week Campbell's, a company I have a fair amount of respect for, announced their "Art of Soup" contest. I can't say I think much of the idea (I toyed with making a mock entry to display here, and if I come up with something good I will, but don't count on it). However, the legal statement (I collect legal statements) is a masterpiece, right up there with the McDonald's contest. Every single possible loophole or rudeness that three intelligent artists with too much time on their hands could come up with was provided for. If you haven't thrown out your paper yet, I suggest you read it.

Beer Collectibles

Matchbox, that fine maker of little metal cars, is producing a set of 1:100 scale diecast models of ... beer trucks. That's right. Just the things for the kidlets. Lest you think this is sour grapes, I must point out that beer is one of my vices and I still don't like this. And none of the brands shown (Budweiser and that ilk) is anywhere near drinkable anyway!


Third week in a row with something from Hershey Foods.

(The copy in that image is no longer readable under higher resolutions. What you are saving 35 cents on is "5-oz or larger packages of Hershey's, Cadbury's, Reese's, or Peter Paul Easter Multi-Packs.")

There's nothing especially odd about this coupon; I have placed it here in case you read my theory about odd crossover ads on 2 March and are thinking, "Well, here's a joint ad by four companies who are clearly in competition, so that theory must be wrong." But isn't it amazing what you can deduce from ads sometimes?

I was doubting it myself a little, so I took the coupon and went to the candy aisle and confirmed it: All four brands mentioned in the ad are subsidiaries (at least in this country - I believe Cadbury's is still its own entity in the U.K.) of Hershey's. It was Peter Paul that threw me. I hadn't realized Hershey's had bought them. Creeping conglomeratism. Quick: name another manufacturer of candy bars in this country besides Hershey's and M&M/Mars. (See bottom.)


Here's a way to bridge the Cereal Dichotomy (see last week): Have a little kid say how healthy the sugary cereal is.


Here's another Unlikely Crossover ad. At least Motrin has made an attempt, however dubious, to draw a connection: The yellow banner at top left says "Feel better, relax, and watch a good movie ...."

If you tried really hard to think of an obscure candy bar manufacturer, such as the people who make Clark bars, that means you forgot about Nestlé.

Hindsight: 20 February 2007

One of the pains of editing these pages for 2007 is checking old links. I am pleased to find that not only is the Museum of Menstruation still up, but that news page five is still there. (The news pages are now in the hundreds, so I've added a link to the particular page in question or it would be very hard to get to.)

Of course there was no danger the Tampax site (or I should say one of the Tampax sites; they have several, as we shall see in later entries) would go away. I have also added a link to o.b.'s site, mostly because in the earlier versions of these pages, I bolded brand names on first mention, and I don't now - so now the lower case brand name makes the sentence a little difficult to parse. The link helps with that. By the way, o.b. got its name from "ohne Binde," German for "without (a) pad." The product was German before Johnson & Johnson got it.

Many months later I wrote about a very obscure candy company indeed, the New England Confectionery Co.

The toilet ad got a certain amount of attention in the popular press, as I note in a later column.

and now back to our program

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