Femfresh in Facebook storm over infantile terms for 'vagina'

Femfresh, the brand specialising in feminine hygiene is facing an escalating social media storm about its infantile terms for female genitalia on its Facebook brand page.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Femfresh, the brand specialising in feminine hygiene is facing an escalating social media storm about its infantile terms for female genitalia. Yesterday it updated its cover photo on its Facebook page claiming that Femfresh is ‘one of the kindest ways to care for your kitty, nooni, lala, vagina, froo froo!’.


Credit: Femfresh

Responses to the image were predominately negative with comments asking whether the product was ‘aimed at children’ and that the description stated that:

"One of the kindest ways to care for your vagina" is untrue, and thus is a matter for Trading Standards or the Advertising Standards Agency.  Also "expert care" is misleading as my understanding is (that) the majority of healthcare professionals would advise against such a product.'

Negative comments continued when the brand posted about keeping fresh at the Isle of Wight Festival and posted an image of an advertisement on a UK telephone box which shouts ‘WooHoo for my Froo Froo’. Other images say ‘I’m proud of my Pompom’.

Throughout the brand page, posts use euphemisms to refer to the female genital area as ‘flower’, ‘mini’, ‘muffin’, ‘lady garden’, ‘kitty’, ’pompom’, ‘twinkle’, ‘noonoo’ and ‘hoo haa’.


Credit: Femfresh page

Rob Ross commented:

This page reminds me of those horrific misogynistic newspaper ads from the 50's that you see online occasionally and think "Did they *really* think that way back then??" Except this advertisement is from the present day. Wow. We have not made much progress have we? Do you *really* think this way today???’

Femfresh has had a Facebook page for the brand since June 2011 and has experienced fairly low engagement -- until yesterday.

Changing its cover image started the comment backlash. Negative comments started to appear against each post and uploaded image. Femfresh responded with a post saying:

'Just a short note to tell all recent posters that we have seen your comments and we will be getting back to you. Whilst we welcome debate, please can we ask that you don’t post anything abusive or use bad language as this contravenes our policies and we will have to delete the posts. Thank you.

Unfortunately this did not pacify anyone with comments such as:

’Are you referencing the c-word when you say bad language? You mean you're censoring actual commonly-used words for vagina but it's fine to have baby-speak euphemisms instead? Sheeesh. This product is, I assume, for adults - so what's the problem with adults using adult language when talking about their adult genitals?’

The social media campaign does not seem to be working the way that Femfresh would have liked. Kay Quita wryly notes:

"Hey guys we really need to be on Facebook don't we? Quick let's start a page and post stuff that ends in a question to provide engagement and to get down with it. We won't be condescending at all of course..."

The Femfresh brand is owned by Church & Dwight Co. Inc. based in Princeton, New Jersey which also owns Arm & Hammer toothpaste, Pearl Drops tooth polish, Orajel Pain relief and Nair hair removal cream.

Credit should go to the brand for listening and posting a couple of comments on its Facebook page in response to the backlash saying that it was ‘listening and appreciate(s) everyone's point of view and feedback’.

Tony Rudd from Femfresh said:

”Here at Femfresh we take all of your comments seriously, and as a result we hope we can improve our products for you. We have thousands of very satisfied customers and we hope you can be too”.

Femfresh – listen to the voice of your customers -- after all, they buy your products. You might want to tighten up your social media communications strategy too.  As Julie Norman suggests:

‘I'd love to hear from a brilliant marketing specialist who could advise on social media campaigns. Come to that, you could use one too’.


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