If you saw it, you saw it. And how could you not? With media outlets, both personal and professional (I use that term loosely), covering every star’s every move, this week bore witness to the tampon that shook up the world.
At this weekend’s Genesis Invitational, Tiger Woods returned to form, in more ways than one. This could only mean increased television ratings for the PGA Tour and increased attention to one of the world’s most recognizable athletes, just not in the way he had anticipated.
Teeing off on the second afternoon with his long-time friend and fellow competitor, Justin Thomas, Thomas’ drive fell short of Tiger’s. In a show of fraternal silliness, as if to say, your puny if not ladylike drive could not keep up with mine, Tiger slipped Thomas a tampon. It was sly, intended for no one to see, yet we saw it. Everybody did as a video of the handoff went viral shortly afterwards.
Implying that Thomas’ feminine side could not outdrive Tiger, the gag could either be interpreted as comical and corny to some and offensively chauvinistic to others depending on where you fall on 2023’s sensitivity spectrum.
The PGA Tour is full of pranksters. One only need watch Netflix’s latest reality TV show/documentary Full Swing to witness both the physical and psychological rigors of professional golf to understand these are a tightly knit group of guys who like to give each other shit and keep things light before they all lose their minds.
Tiger, who has never had a keen sense of humor, got out in front of the media shitstorm that was bound to follow and apologized for anyone he might have offended by his prank. In his defense, Tiger has done a lot worse over the years. If repeatedly cheating on his former wife, copping to being a sex addict and wrecking just about every car he’s ever driven while hopped up on pain meds didn’t get him cancelled (it did, sort of), it’s unlikely slipping a fellow golfer a maxi pad will sink his career any further. The cult of personality is strong with that one.
The tampon controversy got me thinking about another famous canceled superstar that we’ve seen little of lately: Will Smith.
Once a man who could do no wrong, Smith has yet to get back into America’s good graces after his altercation at the Oscars a year and a half back. Unhappy with a joke comedian Chris Rock told about his wife, Smith strutted onto the stage, with millions of Americans watching on live television, and open-handed slapped Rock, later warning Rock to “keep his wife’s name out his fucking mouth.”
It was as shocking and bizarre an incident any of us had ever seen.
At our latest Super Bowl gathering, right as the game was about to start and the commercials were to kick into full force, I asked whether anyone’s gambling service offered a prop that Will Smith would appear in a Super Bowl ad. While probably still untouchable, I’m sure some company somewhere would have taken a shot at Smith, if for the attention alone, and thought his camp might have come up with a creative way to get him back into America’s hearts.
Alas, the Super Bowl came and went with Will Smith, an ardent Eagles fan, nowhere to be found. But think of the possibilities. A Propecia ad where he cares for the follically-challenged. A Timex ad, where he slaps the watch that takes a licking and keeps on ticking. A Tampax ad where he tells Tiger Woods to keep his wife’s feminine hygiene products off his fucking tour, or elsewhere. The possibilities, I felt, were endless. I guess America’s advertisers felt it was still too soon.
Fortunately, I am not one of America’s advertisers, neither are you and we’re giving away fabulous prizes to prove it.
Let’s pretend you are a top marketer for the company of you’re choosing. Your company assigns you the opportunity to cast Will Smith in a Super Bowl ad to poke fun at the incident. You oversee the writing of the ad. How are you casting the Fresh Prince, what is he advertising and what is his tagline?
The most creative submission to this contest wins a DVD copy of Bad Boys, a pack of some Tropical Fruit Bubblicious… and some Skittles.