Mother Nature as Brand Strategy: Gender and Creativity in Tampax Advertising 2007–2009

Camilla Mork Rostvik* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In 2007, Mother Nature saved Tampax. An advertising campaign, featuring nature personified as a middle-aged woman, played a decisive role in helping the tampon brand overcome a challenging period. Five years earlier, the owners, Procter & Gamble (P&G) had developed their own plastic, as opposed to cardboard, tampon applicator in the form of Tampax Pearl, and were promptly sued for patent infringement by the original plastic applicator inventor Playtex (Hanes Brands), a fight P&G lost. On other fronts, the menstrual product industry was battling against an aging population and menstruation-suppressing hormonal birth control, resulting in an annual 1 percent market share drop for the previously globally best-selling brand. A team of women at the Leo Burnett advertising agency came up with a new Tampax branding strategy in response, and as a result the international Mother Nature campaign ran in Europe and North America from 2007 till 2009. This article surveys the issues facing Tampax in the 2000s, and the campaign that stabilized it at the top of the sector by the 2010s.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-452
Number of pages40
JournalEnterprise & Society
Issue number2
Early online date5 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

This article would not have been possible without the time and work of Catherine Lloyd Burns, Anna Meneguzzo, and Rebecca Swanson—thank you. Thanks to P&G for sharing the image of Mother Nature’s costume. Thanks to Dr. Catherine Spencer and Dr. Jennifer Millard for reading and commenting on drafts. Thanks to Professor Geoffrey Jones, Dr. Jesse Olzynko-Gryn, and Professor Ai Hisano for advice on U.S. archives. An early version of this article was presented at the 2018 Society for the Social History of Medicine conference, where excellent questions led to a stronger paper. Thanks to two anonymous peer reviewers and the editor, Professor Andrew Popp, for incredibly helpful responses.


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