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Friday, July 11, 2014

Dear Products: Please Stop Giving Me Unsolicited Pep Talks

Posted by on Fri, Jul 11, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Bossy toothpaste.
  • Megan Seling
  • Bossy toothpaste.
Yesterday, while picking up some allergy medicine and cat litter, some toothpaste started telling me how to live my life. It told me to "be dynamic" and "be inspired," which inspired me to dynamically tell that toothpaste to fuck right off.

Toothpaste isn't the only thing overstepping its bounds. Over the last couple years, everything from toothpaste to tampons to cough drops to chocolate has been sold in packaging that carries "inspirational" messages. But why? Do these unsolicited pep talks actually improve the experience the consumer has with the product? What is the purpose of telling a woman to "Keep your eye on the ball" right before she inserts a tampon into her vagina? What does that even mean, tampon? Where is this ball you speak of?

I don't want a tampon to tell me "All you can do is your best," I want that tampon to say "I promise I will keep blood from getting all over your underpants." And I definitely don't want toothpaste to tell me to be adventurous because "adventurous" is the last thing I want to be in regards to my dental hygiene. When it comes to my teeth, I want to be the opposite of adventurous, I want protection and predictability.

Bossy tampons.
  • Lauren Hoffman
  • Bossy tampons.

It's not just packaging that's doing this, either. Earlier this week Jezebel posted about the new plus-size clothing store that plays pre-recorded compliments over the speakers in the dressing rooms. Do marketing teams think the humans that are buying their goods have such a deflated sense of self-worth that their empty compliments and canned pep talks will actually be taken to heart? Do they think we're all just wandering around the aisles of stores, feeling so utterly hopeless, that we'll trust a piece of chocolate when it promises everything will get better? It's insulting.

Stop telling me how to live, products, because no one asked you. Save the bullshit and just keep my teeth and underwear clean.


Comments (18) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
seandr 1
You tell them!
-Bossy internet commenter
Posted by seandr on July 11, 2014 at 1:34 PM · Report this
tabathalphabet 2
Posted by tabathalphabet on July 11, 2014 at 1:36 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 3
Haven't you heard? Corporations have the right, the right to tell you what to do with your vagina these days.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on July 11, 2014 at 1:47 PM · Report this
Dove Chocolates is the master at that.…
Posted by hereiswheremynamegoes on July 11, 2014 at 1:47 PM · Report this
Megan Seling 5
@3 How could I forget? Pretty soon the toothpaste is going to jump right off the shelf and knock that birth control right out of my hands!
Posted by Megan Seling on July 11, 2014 at 1:48 PM · Report this
Fnarf 6
You're not always right, Miz Seling, but when you are you cannot be denied. This phenom is maximally annoying. "Keep your eye on the ball", for chrissakes, that's appalling. It makes me long for the days of generic products. Like "BEER", aka Beer Beer. We already know what it is and what it is for.
Posted by Fnarf on July 11, 2014 at 1:50 PM · Report this
Megan Seling 7
Also, @4, you just reminded me! I actually posted about Dove chocolate doing this on Slog 800 years ago:…

Maybe they'll listen this time!
Posted by Megan Seling on July 11, 2014 at 1:53 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 9
I see a market for novelty message tampons.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on July 11, 2014 at 3:25 PM · Report this
carriemcc 10
They should take a cue from popcicle sticks and print jokes on them.
Posted by carriemcc on July 11, 2014 at 3:48 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 11
@10 - Tampon jokes, yes!

But like the popsicle stick jokes, should they only be viewable when you're done with the product? I don't really want to think about how that would manifest, but everyone loves a joke.
Posted by MacCrocodile on July 11, 2014 at 4:01 PM · Report this
Dear Facebook friends, please take this advice. If I see 1 more serene landscape photo with an inspirational quote about how my faults are really what make me beautiful, I may have to punch a kitten. In the face. More than once.
Posted by Crispy on July 11, 2014 at 4:24 PM · Report this
Fnarf 13
How about snarky, mean ones, like "follow your dreams until they are crushed out of you", "he doesn't love you anymore", "your boss owns your body, you know", "only 324 more periods until menopause", and "you'll never earn as much as a man"?
Posted by Fnarf on July 11, 2014 at 5:07 PM · Report this
Awesome free ad for those brands you hate so much.
Posted by treehugger on July 11, 2014 at 5:42 PM · Report this
@15 yeah i totally want to buy all this shit now
Posted by The CHZA on July 11, 2014 at 8:44 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 17
Fnarf dear, that BEER you speak of had rebuses on the inside of the caps, but I don't remember if they were inspirational or not.....

Marketing. It's as bad as "human resources" at attracting the type of anti-social oddball who would think inspirational tampons are a thing people would appreciate.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on July 12, 2014 at 3:18 PM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 18
I would love to read about a rogue worker at Dove Chocolates who printed adult messages on random wrappers... e.g.
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on July 12, 2014 at 4:05 PM · Report this
venomlash 19
Ricola cough drops have inspirational phrases on them. "A PEP TALK IN EVERY DROP" is the catchphrase.
Posted by venomlash on July 12, 2014 at 5:43 PM · Report this
stirwise 20
I bought a couple pairs of panties a few weeks ago and discovered when I got home that they have uplifting affirmations printed on the inside of the waistband. It's weird. I just looked at one and it says "abandon your doubts." Thanks, panties, but if I want a daily affirmation while I sit on the toilet I'll just go look at Skeletor is Love.
Posted by stirwise on July 13, 2014 at 12:33 PM · Report this

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