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What is the Tampax ad ban about?

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An advert for tampons has been banned in Ireland for causing “widespread offence”, with the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) advising that it should not air again in the same format.

Proctor & Gamble, which owns Tampax, said the ‘Tampons and Tea’ ad was intended to be a “light-hearted advert” on a “very common usage question” that could “educate people on how to use the product”.

However, the ASAI upheld complaints that the ad was offensive, after receiving 84 complaints – which later rose to 150.

Despite the ban in Ireland, the ad is still running on UK television channels.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Tampax ad ban.

Why was the Tampax ad banned?

There were 150 complaints in response to the ad which was deemed offensive (Tampax )

The ‘Tampons and Tea’ ad, which featured a light-hearted discussion in a TV studio setting out how to use tampons, was banned by the ASAI after it ruled that the commercial had caused widespread offence based on the relatively high number of complaints made about it.

The ad saw a TV presenter in a chat show set-up asking the audience: “Tell me, how many of you ever feel your tampon?”

Several complaints took issue with phrases used in the advert, including “you gotta get ‘em up there girls” and “not just the tip, up to the grip”, which they found to be vulgar, embarrassing, and crude.

Some of those complaining said they found the language used to be “overdescriptive, inappropriately expressed and with excessive detail”, the ASAI said.

Other complaints said the advert was demeaning and belittled women by implying they might be ignorant on how to use tampons correctly.

The authority said it continued to receive a high volume of correspondence about the ad and the number of complaints about it eventually totalled 150.

It noted that 83 per cent of complaints about the ad came from women.

What was the response?

A statement from Tampax’s official Twitter account read: ‘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 our product correctly in a straight-talking way.

“Whilst we appreciate that the advert isn’t for everyone, we have seen many positive responses since the advert aired in Ireland with 67% finding the advert educational.”

The decision to ban the ad prompted outrage on social media, and former Labour MP Ruth Smeeth called the ruling “unbelievable censorship of women talking about their bodies”.

Drag performer Shirley Temple Bar wrote: “It is absolutely ridiculous that this ad is banned because (Tampax) pearl clutchers were ‘generally’ offended.

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“Offended by literally NOTHING, it seems, since their specific and frankly weird complaints weren’t upheld.”

Additionally, Dublin’s Lord Mayor Hazel Chu tweeted: “I personally (this is my personal acc after all) think the ASAI made a wrong call banning the ad.

“Talking frankly about periods & tampons should not be taboo, we’re not in the 1980s.”

Why could the ASAI’s decision be reviewed?

(Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Now, the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) has signalled that it could review the controversial decision to uphold complaints from members of the public about the tampon TV ad.

The ASAI had previously posted a message on its website on Friday, which was subsequently removed, stating that there was no mechanism to have any of its decisions appealed.

Under the ASAI code, parties have 21 days to seek a review of a decision, with advertisers required to pay a fee of €5,000 for such an application. The fee for a general complainant seeking a review is €30.

A review panel can then decide to refer the issue back to the ASAI’s complaints committee for reconsideration.

The ASAI has also removed a request asking the public not to contact the ASAI about the Tampax advertisement.

Instead, the authority said it would now “fully review” all email comments received after the adjudication had been published.

The ASAI said it had upheld the complaint that the ad had caused general offence because of the volume of complaints it had received, which it said was “indicative of consumer sentiment”.

However, it did not uphold claims that the ad for the Procter and Gamble brand was demeaning to women, contained sexual innuendo or was unsuitable for children.

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