It seems as women get older they start peeing their pants—a lot. At least that’s what the advertising industry will have you believe.
Young women who watch TV regularly—and the people who will pursue them as future love interests—must be terrified of aging for a whole new reason. Not only will body parts sag and skin become wrinkled—now they must contend with the notion that they’ll one day be sitting in diapers full of urine—and it will be that way for the rest of their lives.
Unfortunately all the advertising industry can offer is products that help contain the sudden deluge of urine that graces every middle-aged female pair of pants. (Yes, there are products for men, too, but clearly men aren’t quite as leaky!) They even offer an entire pair of underwear to serve that very purpose. They don’t provide any concrete ways to avoid or correct the problem.
Whoopi Goldberg was likely the first celebrity to endorse a bladder leak product. Fans were no doubt aghast at the notion that Whoopi—playing the roles of several notable females in history—was admitting she regularly pees her pants. They likely wondered if the Academy Award nominated actress had hit upon hard times—hard enough to warrant filming such a commercial.
Folks, it’s time to get a few facts straight. Not all women pee their pants in middle age and older. In fact, these little leaks that may occur are often non-issues, and have grown to be far worse than they really are—all to further fuel companies like Kimberly Clark (sp) and the advertising industry.
What these companies don’t want women to know is that their occasional oopsies can frequently be avoided by Kegel exercises and weight loss. Science tells us that an overweight woman who has borne a few children in her lifetime will endure some bladder leakage in her later years. It’s called stress incontinence. But preparation for this issue and the aforementioned remedies can make a big difference.
Yes, there are some true medical issues that cause bladder incontinence, but those aren’t necessarily the people these ads are targeting. They’re encouraging women with stress incontinence to believe they’re destined to muddle through the smelly, wet indignity of paper underwear or pads for the rest of their lives.
Back to Whoopi—who, it seems, really tried to change the lingo in the ad—who perhaps should be hailed a bladder leak icon. A New York Times article from the era when the ad debuted pretty much prints an admission from Ms. Goldberg that she herself doesn’t suffer from stress incontinence, but rather her mother does instead. In fact, that’s how the ad came to refer to peeing one’s pants as a “spritz.”
“The spritz came directly from Whoopi,” David Lang, president of the North America division of Mindshare—a global media advertising agency network—told a reporter. “The first day of shooting, we said the brand talks about light bladder leakage, and she said, ‘It’s not a leak, it’s a spritz. I talked to my mom the other night and she said it’s a spritz.’
Lang added, “The spritz language is all Whoopi.”
Well, whether Whoopi Goldberg pees her pants regularly or not is certainly not the issue. The adherence of viewers to the “continue to pee in your pants and use our products” mindset is the problem here. Even more accurate is the “don’t try to find a way to fix the issue at hand and continue to pee in your pants so you can buy our pads and paper undies” scenario.
The lady in the following ad opens a package of Always Discreet pads and underwear. She is very excited about how good they smell (they should—they’re not yet used!) and she mentions that her daughter just loves the bow. Ummm…ok. This isn’t a TV ad. It was created for YouTube instead and lasts more than 17 minutes, but the first few seconds alone are insulting.
The newest, most innovative product is made by Poise as well. They call it Impressa. It’s a “brand new” product that prevents the spritz before it happens. It doesn’t take an Einstein to see that this product is simply a rehash of a tampon. Obviously this stress incontinence solution isn’t targeted toward the leaky men.