Ethnic Ambiguity in Kotex Marketing

28 May

Our conversation last week on the rise of ethnically ambiguous models reminded me of this Kotex commercial, which came out in 2011.   In its parody of other tampon commercials the actress in this one calls attention to her racial ambiguity as a marketing tactic and appeals to the intelligence of female consumers of the product.  Enjoy!


Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Ethnic Ambiguity in Kotex Marketing

  1. skytsutsui

    May 31, 2013 at 9:47 am

    This commercial reminds me of a few things that I have been noticing about ethnically ambiguous people (the ones that I know at least). I don’t know if it has to do with clarifying which ethnicities they are or if it has to do with pride. I noticed that the majority of ethnically ambiguous people I know almost always make it a point to point out that they are in fact ethnically ambiguous. Whether it’s on their captions for “selfie” pictures on instagram, #hashtags, or twitter profiles they oftentimes make an effort to write something along the lines of: “blasian” or “half asian & half white” etc. I find it very interesting and it raises a few questions for me. Are they aware of their beauty and therefore emphasize it? Do they know that ethnically ambiguous people are frequently considered attractive and therefore must make it a point to clarify for people that they are ethnically ambiguous so they can label them as attractive? Are they aware of this “hierarchy” (Lauren mentioned– I think) that sort of accompanies ethnically ambiguous people?

  2. reedh2013

    June 1, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    This commercial points out two different advertising strategies: presenting the actress/model who uses the product as relatable, and presenting her as aspirational. She starts out saying, “You can relate to me because I’m racially ambiguous”. By using racially ambiguous women a company can potentially reach a broader range of women who identify with the woman in the advertisement. But at the end of the article, she points out that the consumer will buy the product because, “You wish you could be me”. To me, this comment reaches the true essence of this type of advertising (which is often directed at women). It aims to instill in the consumer the idea that if they buy the product, they will be one step closer to becoming the woman presented in the ad.

    Now that I think about it, this strategy may be most effective when combined with the first. If a woman can pick out some ethnic feature or facial characteristic in the actress/model that she identifies with, then that woman’s beauty may seem just slightly more attainable. The product being advertised thus becomes more relevant to more women.


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