The new ad for HelloFlo, a company that sells feminine hygiene products, has gone viral, and it seems to have – along with potential cringe-worthy shock value – lessons to offer on patience and knowing how not to play parents for fools. The video has already amassed more than 18 million views since it was posted on YouTube on June 17.
When a daughter can’t wait to, ahem, become a woman, and in her haste lies to her friends and mom about getting her first period, the mom immediately knows what’s up. To teach her daughter a lesson about lying in her rush to womanhood, the mom throws her a “First Moon” party, complete with all her friends and family invited and female anatomical shaped party decor.
Of course, the daughter is mortified and has to confess her lie. In response, the mom breaks out the first period starter kit for when her daughter will actually need it.
It’s a funny, sweet video that any woman can relate to – but it begs the question, what isn’t off-limits in advertising? Not even jokes about the menses are taboo anymore. This ad gives moms an opportunity to laugh about a topic that's almost always considered awkward and unpleasant to discuss with daughters.
In recent years, social media has turned traditional advertising on its head. The most popular ads are those that go viral, shared person to person on social media outlets. The result is companies digging deeper, creating ads that resonate with people on a very personal level,either turning the consumer into part of the ad, such as the #powerofdad campaign by OralB and the #worldstoughestjob campaign by American Greetings, or through jumping right into the cringe-worthy moments of life, a la the"Mom Song" ad by Old Spice. These campaigns reach deeper than the catchy jingles of the past and tug at parents' heartstrings.
Depicting a mom who cleverly hatches a plan to indirectly teach her daughter a lesson appeals to parents’ desire to impart parental wisdom to their kids in fun ways. Not every lesson has to be delivered with a stern look – a good-natured smirk will do just as well.
Every mom wants to be seen as hip, not clueless - and depicting moms as the intelligent, capable people they are deeply resonates with mothers everywhere. Developing nuanced characters makes ads relatable, and when people relate to an ad, especially moms who probably buy the majority of feminine hygiene products for the home, they remember it when they're considering a purchase.
I know I'll definitely remember this novel care package idea when my daughter hits puberty. Having a special gift for her will be a good conversation-starter, so we can have a heart-to-heart, without the need for a hired boy band singing about her womanhood.