Vampires: the New Tampax?

First of all, I want to give a shout out to my colleague, the marvelous Tom DuBose, for telling me about this ad. There was apparently this big football game last weekend, that’s famous for its commercials. (Just kidding-Geaux Saints!)

Did y’all see this one?

And did you catch the thing about vampires? “I will watch your vampire TV shows with you.”

I don’t know where to begin! When did vampires stop being the purview of the horror fan and become, instead, another thing a dude tolerates to please his wife? Here, vampires are depicted as the equivalent of some fanged scented candle or a caped feminine hygiene product.

I think this is really interesting. I think we need to break this down. What does this commercial say about the vampire, about women, about women and vampires, about “real” men, and about the Dodge Charger?*

Comments wanted!

*Fine, I don’t actually give a toss about the Charger. But lemme know if you do!

Posted by Nicole Peeler

Author, Professor, Lover, Fighter

32 thoughts on “Vampires: the New Tampax?”

  1. @NicolePeeler Uh, overall the Superbowl had so many ridiculous whiny man commercials I can't even count. Did u see the one for Flo tv?

  2. @NicolePeeler vampires == tampax when twilight became the new standard for vampires. that's a whole other rant, by the way.

  3. Four Words: Twilight and True Blood.

    Vampires have gone from sexy but dangerous and deadly, to fancy-lad sparklepants non-threatening attractiveness.

    It makes me sick, really.

    What happened to Dracula?

    Lestat (and Louis, to a lesser extent, because he was a huge wuss)?


    Where's the fear that vampires once inspired?

    Now we have…Edward Cullen, well-meaning sociopathic stalker.


  4. Totally agree on Twilight. Edward is a sparkly pansy.

    BUT I disagree on True Blood. That show is ROUGH man. The books depict vampires that are actually pretty awful, even though Sookie, herself, doesn't put it together all the time–especially in the first few books. She's naive. But the show…Eric ripped that dude in the basement apart! And there's a lot of boobies. The boobies are very nice boobies, but I don't think I'm really the boobies' intended audience.

    Perhaps it's less the show, and more the women's reaction? I've watched the show in mixed company, and everybody's reacting to that show VERY differently, depending on their sexual orientation.

  5. wait. boobies? maybe i should give true blood a chance.

    a thought about that commercial. they could have just had the car driving fast, and that would have been just as good. also, the challenger is much more "manly" than the charger.

    vampires are the new zombie. i'm still in my romantic zombie phase though. one day i'll catch up and people will have moved on. perhaps the wolfman movie will catch on and werewolves will be the new vampire.

  6. Man, I don't know, if I were a guy I'd be kind of embarrassed by that commercial. (I know this danged thing has been hashed and rehashed but heck!)

    I was just thinking, "Wow, those are some pansy-assed men. Go drive your Charger and leave me the hell alone."

    The vampire thing was pretty funny, would the female version be, "I'll stop saying you're no Edward Cullen" (then again if they want Edwad, the noble pansy might be their type. I too, miss the actually dangerous, "You are no more than a snack to me" school of vampires.

    I think this is why I prefer werewolves.

  7. Dudes–the typical straight, manly dudes this commercial was aimed at–are not into vampires, because when most people think of vampires, they think of this:

    and no Typical Dude is into that sort of thing.

    The real issue here is the commercial itself. Ads aimed at men play up the whole stereotypical issue of masculinity–you are a hardass, you don't like "girly" things, you're a wacky & carefree type who is always burdened by those dumb women who want you to act like a grownup, etc–to an insane degree. Most men are not quite as stupid as the advertisements targeting them imply, but some are probably made so because they are acting out the roles assigned them by those ads.

  8. I'm thinking this has to do with both Twilight and True Blood. Of course women are going to watch the male hotness radiating from their screens, regardless of whether it's a vampire, a ghost or a normal guy.

  9. I don't know, but most guys I have dated would be more than happy to watch vampire TV shows with me. Who are these wimpy guys who will not? Obviously, it is shows like Vampire Diaries that caused this whole thing. True Blood, I feel is a show MANY,MANY manly,manly men watch. It has it all. sex, violence, blood, sex, and yes, sexy vampires having sex. lol. I would not consider it a "girly" vampire show. Now Twilight did change the genre a bit, but it IS a YA series, so most men of a certain age wouldn't be interested in it anyway. That all being said, I still like my vampires-all of them, dark and brooding, scary and violent and also sensitive and sexy.

  10. Dude, I want that car. And I'm not a guy. It's a nice car, so why should only men want to drive it? Blech.

    As for vampires, I agree with everyone who laid blame at the feet of Twilight.

    I miss my goddamn Lestat. Anne Rice, please find your sanity. I miss it. I'm sure you do too, deep down.

  11. I have been a hardcore vampire fan for a couple decades so the new Edward angle of being a vampire…at first I hated it, then I thought it was cool in the way that it was a totally new angle (love things fresh and new) and now I am …not sure. Personally with Twilight- I am on team Jacob (hello abs and hawtness and no pale skinny boo hoo guy)

    I still love my hardcore fanged bad boys that have the bad boy appeal fangs and all. I haven't seen but two episodes of True Blood since I have no HBO but I just signed up for Netflix and the DVDs are on my list.

    But as far as guys not liking vamps…my man does and I can tell you flat out he's no pansy…he's not even metrosexual in the least little bit. But then again he was also into vamps (like me) long before Twilight was a shimmery glimmer on the horizon.

    And don't get me started on the sucky gay ass commericials from the superbowl…how many ugly men in their underwear commercials were there? Gross-and you guys wonder why we drool over hot vamp guys and get girl crushes on boobalicious femme fatales? Most normal dudes are- not attractive, at least not the ones in those commercials.

  12. Oh, interesting. I didn't catch all the commercials. Or actually, any.

    I watched the first few episodes of True Blood with the husband, and he developed SUCH a hatred for vampire Bill, it's a no go as a together show now. It was mostly due to Bill's lack of chivalry, oddly. I think the manhood represented by Bill and Edward offends many men.

    If you look at it, Bill in the TB TV show is nearly opposite of the man described in the commercial. So, it may be more there for contrast with their demographic, and not men in general.

  13. I would like to point out that Edward Cullen would drive that car, in fact he is described as driving such cars *cough Volvo*. Maybe not a Dodge Charger… but it may has well been. It's black, it's fast, and it's sleek. AND it has tinted windows. But seriously, ironic much?

    @JDE, I agree with you wholeheartedly. "The real issue here is the commercial itself…."

    In regard to Twilight…I am very much sick of Twilight, I am tired of the rabid fan attacks that assault my eyes and ears on a daily basis….and living in Washington doesn't help. However, I don't want to place the blame fully on Twilight, I have read TONS of books from years ago that we're the same story, but different author and characters. So teen books being released back when I was 12 played up the same sob story of a lonely vampire killer who was denying his nature, but was also dashingly handsome and the girl crazy awkward but lusting after his undead-self all the same.. So it's not new but it was sparkly enough to initiate that crazed obsession, maybe the teen population needed a new product to latch onto since Harry Potter was out the door. Maybe… better yet vampire sparkles are pixi stick crack.

  14. Good points, everyone. There's about 1,000 things wrong with this ad, not least what it says about contemporary masculinity and the media.

    I like Roxanne's idea that as media depictions of men (for men) get more and more gross, women's fantasies of men get more and more unrealistic (like hungering after the undead).

    At the end of the day, I blame ALL of this on 2 1/2 Men. As a single woman, that show makes me want to trade in my vagina for a slowcooker or something. Seriously.

  15. When I saw this commericial all I thought was Twilight. That movie put vamps in the chick-flick category, thus making it a 'boyfriend' obligation to sit through it. I have to say that I prefer my vamps a bit more on the dangerous side, and much less on the sparkly side. Although, i still like the movies. I think its the vamp-a-holic part.

    Never seen 2.5 men…but never had an desire to…so it looks like I have the right idea.

    What they needed was a counter-acting commericial listing all the things that women put up with for guys. I think a spa vacation would be better than a Charger.

  16. There was an interesting discussion over on time,com about the tone of many Superbowl ads being patently misogynistic this year, and this Dodge ad took the cake.

    When I heard the 'vampire show' thing, I thought of The Vampire Diaries more than True Blood or Twilight. The Vampire Diaries is pain like burning. Maybe I'm too old to be its target audience but it just reminds me of Dawson's Creek with fangs and more brooding. Even Twilight is less pain than that. My boyfriend watched one episode with me and told me if I ever made him look at it again, I was dead to him.

    On a random tangent: Nicole, you touched on just why I hate True Blood but love the Sookie Stackhouse books. I like seeing the brutal, ugly events filtered through the relative innocence of Sookie's viewpoint. It's kind of tough to swallow without that buffer.

  17. In all fairness, vampires started the long slide from Horrible Undead Parasite to Sexy Immortal Hunk with Dracula. Hell, it actually started with Carmilla and Lord Ruthven, Dracula just took it and ran.

    Lestat is also a bad example, because he is hardly the poster boy for Make Vampires Scary Not Sexy. Until Twilight's Bella came along, I would have called Lestat the biggest Mary Sue in vampire fiction.

    Of course, Sexy and Dangerous Bad Boy is still miles and miles away from Sparkly Mormon Boyfriend With A Promise Ring

  18. Look. The ad was meant to be funny. Every married guy has the wife telling him about one of those things or the other. If women were honest, they nagged their man about ONE of those things. And also, when the guys thinking of buying that muscle car he just WANTS and not needs, she's giving him the Look. The ad just says, look, I give on everything else you nag me about. But keep the car out of it.

    In a funny way.

  19. On vamps– gotta be about Twilight. That said, this commercial sucks, seriously. Should we even start the list of things we do for men??? And those things they mentioned are very sterotypical. Not all women want men to do those things. I wish boils on the balls of whoever came up with this commercial.

    Side note: My husband loved and still loves Angel and Buffy. We own the DVD's and he wanted them almost more than I did!

  20. @flying figleaf:

    Maybe the ad was meant to be funny, but it didn't turn out that way. We all know how the road to hell is paved, don't we? Whoever wrote that must have an awfully sick sense of humor, because s/he (although it was most likely a he) ended up insulting the entire human race–men and women.

  21. My boyfriend was offended by that commercial oddly enough. We were watching the game and he looked at me and said "But I like vampires!"


    What a good boy he is.

    Anyway, I did find it offensive, and not just for the remarks directed at Twi-hards, of which I am proudly one…and love all vamps, except for Rice's later works. It is another thinly veiled mysoginistic commercial, so I quickly forgot about it. I'll never understand those types of commercials, as I agree that they do insult everyone. *shrug* Looks like I won't be buying the car in question.

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