CONSUMERS WOULD RATHER SKIP FEMININE HYGIENE ADS

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Advertising that shows cars zooming around curves at high speed and tanned tourists on the sunny beaches of Hawaii wins consumers' vote for being interesting and informative.

But TV commercials and magazine ads for feminine hygiene products are neither informative nor entertaining but in poor taste, say consumers in a recent Roper Starch Worldwide study.

The Mamaroneck, N.Y., research company surveyed 2,006 men and women ages 18 and older in in-home interviews. Consumers were asked whether advertising was interesting/informative, entertaining or in bad taste.

Results of the July 1993 survey of randomly selected people, with a margin of error of 4 percentage points, were released publicly last month. The questions were part of surveys used in compiling the annual Roper Reports, which cover a wide range of social issues.

Automobiles and vacation destinations ranked as the most interesting and informative for magazine ads at 37% each. Car advertising was No. 1 for TV commercials, at 36%, and vacation destinations were No. 2 at 35%.

"Automobiles and travel are products that appeal to everybody," said Phil Sawyer, Roper director of communications.

In terms of entertaining consumers, soft drinks, fast-food and athletic/running shoes scored highest in TV commercials at 36%, 31% and 26%, respectively.

In TV spots, 39% regarded advertising of feminine hygiene products as being in bad taste. That beat out both beer, 22%, and deodorants, 10%. Magazine ad results were similar, with feminine hygiene products drawing disapproval from 34%, cigarettes from 27% and liquor from 26%.

Mr. Sawyer said discussing feminine hygiene products makes people feel uncomfortable. "You must talk to the audience differently, and this category needs more research."

Beer commercials offended more women than men. Twenty-five percent of women said beer spots are in bad taste while only 18% of their male counterparts did the same.

The group that strayed from the norm was people older than 60. In nearly every category, the 60-and-older crowd found advertising less interesting and entertaining but also less offensive. Leah Rickard coordinates Research News.

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