Cottons Sympathy Pains

Cottons in Australia is responsible for a classic but little known Australian TV ad – Sympathy Pains. The brand of feminine hygiene products was highlighted in a humorous fashion with not one woman in sight.

Road worker with period pains in Cottons TV ad

A male road worker develops the symptoms usually associated with menstruation. His workmates are full of sympathy, offering all kinds of suggestions for how to cope. The super, over the pneumatic hammers, is “If Only. Until then there’s Cottons”.

Click on the image below to play the video.


The Sympathy Pains campaign, which included press and advertising on toilet doors, was developed at Young & Rubicam Mattingly, Melbourne (now George Patterson Y&R), by creative director James McGrath, copywriter Ant Keogh, art director Ben Coulson and agency producer Romanca Jasinski.

Filming was shot by Vikki Blanche, via Great Southern Films, Melbourne (now at Radical Media), with director of photography Graeme Wood and producers Helene Nicol and Leanne Tonkes. Sympathy Pains is featured in flash and quicktime formats on Vikki’s portfolio at Radical Media.

Post production was done at Iloura, Melbourne. Editor was Roberta Horslie. Music and sound were produced at GAS (Good Audio Sense).

Vikki Blanche won the Young Director’s award at Cannes International Advertising Festival 2001 with Sympathy Pains, her first television commercial. Despite that the ad was not featured in the shortlist at Cannes that year, as the ad was produced by Blanche as a spec.