Summer Cramp: Marketing Tampons To The Bunk Set

Summer camp is a classic setting for coming-of-age adolescent adventures: the first unattainable crush on that dreamy Zinc-nosed counselor, the first meaningful bonding that only a shared canoe experience can bring and, for many young female campers, their first period.

The new feminine product delivery service Hello Flo released the video above that has som fun with the “first-period-at-camp” trope. The 1:47 video, which AdWeek named “ad of the day,” stars a former loner camper turned powerfully popular after becoming the first girl at camp to get her period — or the “red patch of courage” as she calls it. Her newfound authority as the militant “Camp Gyno” gets to her head propelling her to divvy out tampons amongst newly menstruating campers like they were cigarettes circulating through jail; she barks at a young cramp sufferer to “suck it up and deal with it; this is your life now.” Though she touts herself as a Joan of Arc among campers, the Camp Gyno can’t compete with Hello Flo’s menstrual supply shipment service timed perfectly with the girls’ cycles. (Indeed, for $16 you get enough regular tampons for a 4-5 day medium flow, a handful of pads, Pantiliners and treats!)

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The video has already accrued close to 80,000 views and is generating a generally positive response. The Huffington Post called it “The Best Tampon Ad in the History of the World” and applauded the video for adopting a realistic look into menstruation — a rarity, it says, in the cannon of ads for feminine hygiene products:

Now we all know that historically, ads for tampons and panty liners have, shall we say, skirted the down and dirty realities of menstruation. I mean, how many of us have seen a tampon ad featuring a woman wearing white pants and decided to put that kind of ill-placed faith in a “feminine hygiene” product? Here’s my guess: zero, thank goodness. And while the ubiquitous “blue liquid” ads at least weren’t as insulting as the “Are You Sure I’ll Still Be a Virgin?” Tampax ads that seemed to run in every issue of Seventeen magazine for my entire adolescence, they were so off-target as to cause confusion

It’s 2013. Way past time we had some funny, delightful ads about tampons in general and the vagaries of impending womanhood in particular.

OB-GYNs: Beware Marketing Hype On Robotic Hysterectomy

The influential American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is warning women that despite an aggressive marketing campaign to promote pricey robotic surgery for hysterectomies, that approach may not be the best choice available for patients.

Citing a recent JAMA study that found robotic hysterectomies cost more but aren’t really better, ACOG president, James T. Breeden, MD, in a statement said it’s “important to separate the hype from reality” when considering this type of robotic surgery.
robotic surgery

Here’s the full ACOG statement:

Many women today are hearing about the claimed advantages of robotic surgery for hysterectomy, thanks to widespread marketing and advertising. Robotic surgery is not the only or the best minimally invasive approach for hysterectomy. Nor is it the most cost-efficient. It is important to separate the marketing hype from the reality when considering the best surgical approach for hysterectomies.

The outcome of any surgery is directly associated with the surgeon’s skill. Highly skilled surgeons attain expertise through years of training and experience. Studies show there is a learning curve with new surgical technologies, during which there is an increased complication rate. Expertise with robotic hysterectomy is limited and varies widely among both hospitals and surgeons. While there may be some advantages to the use of robotics in complex hysterectomies, especially for cancer operations that require extensive surgery and removal of lymph nodes, studies have shown that adding this expensive technology for routine surgical care does not improve patient outcomes. Consequently, there is no good data proving that robotic hysterectomy is even as good as—let alone better—than existing, and far less costly, minimally invasive alternatives. Continue reading

Buyer Beware: Questions Raised On Spine Surgery Marketed Online

In case you missed this excellent investigation on heavily advertised (and medically questionable) spinal surgery by Bloomberg’s David Armstrong, please check it out here.

The story begins with the troubles of Bonnie Balch who “searched online for a back surgeon and found a pitch she called irresistible: Laser Spine Institute LLC promised to ease her pain and have her out the door in a few hours.”

It continues:

Instead, her October 2008 surgery at the Tampa, Florida- based center left Balch incontinent, with a dangerous spinal fluid leak, she said. Still in pain, she was off work for almost a year and needed a second surgery elsewhere to get relief.

“They should have told me they couldn’t help me,” said Balch, 63, a Longmont, Colorado, flight attendant. “They are in it to make money.” Her insurer paid Laser Spine $90,176 for the operation, a follow-up procedure and some subsequent care.

Balch sued Laser Spine, alleging malpractice, in December 2009, one of 15 cases filed against the company in the past 18 months.

The lawsuits reflect growing complaints about a new area of medicine: high-volume, doctor-owned spinal surgery centers that market directly to patients on Google Inc.’s search site and others. For Laser Spine, the business model generated a 34.3 percent net profit margin from 2006 through 2009 — eclipsing even the Internet giant’s 24.8 percent for that period.

Lahey Clinic neurosurgeon Jeffrey Arle tells Bloomberg that the company’s laser surgery was either unnecessary of inappropriate for many patients. “It strikes me as somewhat of a scam,” Arle is quoted saying. “My conclusion is they are offering patients a version of what is already available in the regular medical care system.”