Start celebrating: o.b. Ultra tampons are on their way back and should be… (M. Spencer Green / Associated…)
Women, rejoice. Your o.b. Ultra tampons are on their way back to store shelves. And the company wants to apologize. With a song.
First, the back story: The diminutive tampons started disappearing from stores in fall of 2010 to the dismay-bordering-on-panic of women who were extremely loyal to the small, applicator-free product from Johnson & Johnson -- especially its Ultra brand, a favorite among those with a heavy flow.
Shelves were emptied and the tampons were reportedly selling on eBay for more than $100 (a recent search found a 40-count box of Ultras on a Buy It Now for $79. Ouch). As for the reason for the disappearance, that still remains unclear; the company said it had a supply interruption but some wondered whether there might be quality control or manufacturing issues.
The tampons started showing up in stores again in the spring, but the Ultras were still unavailable. Until now.
Start celebrating, ladies: the company says they are coming back in 2012. And they're sorry -- really, really sorry -- that you had to wait so long. Apparently they're so sorry that a regular apology won't do, so they made a music video featuring every cheesy cliche in the book: young, unshaven cute guy; a white piano on the bluffs; a live dove and rose petals.
The best part of the video is that's interactive. Evidently the company wanted to thank everyone personally, so if you type in your name before the video plays you'll get a special surprise (warning: if you have an unusual name, the video is slightly different).
A message on the company's website says: "In case you questioned it, we're really, really, really sorry that you were not able to find our products earlier this year. You've also shown us how much you love o.b. Ultra and we're sorry we discontinued it -- we stand corrected! We're working hard to bring o.b. Ultra back to store shelves by the second half of 2012 and we'll keep you updated on our progress. In the meantime, we'd like to apologize with this video message and extend a special coupon offer. Again, we're really, really, really sorry!"
We have to admit it's brilliant marketing. We hope women can hold out for another few months -- and if not, there's a box of Ultras on eBay with your name on it.