Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The one. The only. Tetris.

Japan has traditionally enjoyed a dominant position in the lucrative Discomfort-Inducing Store Display market, but now Italy is apparently throwing its hat into the ring. Sure as hell hope it's a hat, anyway.

More specifically, there are now  Tetris-themed Tampax displays advertising feminine hygiene products in Italian stores, and... OK, this is sort of awkward, because 1. My attitude towards the human body, its various activities, functions, and constituent components, and the emanations and effluvia thereof has not changed appreciably since I was about 8 years old, and  2. I write this blog with voice-recognition software and thus have to say all of this out loud. There are stacks of Tetris blocks arranged so that they only need one more properly placed piece to clear three lines, and the tampon is a long vertical Tetris piece descending towards the... well, gap.

Which is very bothersome, because if we accept the display's conceit that the tampon is somehow analogous to a Tetris block the tampon's arrival at its destination will cause several full rows of adjacent blocks to simply vanish into oblivion.

And even if we leave aside the ad's grisly suggestion that Tampax products somehow have the power to annihilate the user's lower torso, Tetris blocks seem like a remarkably unappealing thing to compare the product to. Most of the advertisements for feminine hygiene products I've seen over the years revolve around comfort and softness and freshness and women carefully avoiding any clear references to the actual product or its function as they converse while engaging in various outdoor recreations together. There's nothing wrong with trying to break from the formula, but I'm not sure “It's a tampon with the comfort and convenience of a brick” is the way to do that.

That said, I wish Tampax luck with this effort, and I'm sure that in the years to come video game-based promotions will be helping break down the taboos and awkwardness that so often surrounds items of such a personal nature. I especially look forward to seeing the “16-bit Link returning the Master Sword to that altar at the end of A Link to Past”-themed displays Trojan will no doubt be unveiling in the near future.

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