It’s not hard to figure out why this 28-second foreign Tampax commercial was banned from television. The horrifying depiction of a woman getting ripped apart by a shark, paired with incorrect scientific facts may have kept the clip far from mainstream TV. However, it found its way to the world through YouTube.
Despite whether you think this is a genius attempt at humor or a disturbing mockery of the dangers of the open ocean, Tampax surely didn’t do their research prior to spending tons of money on one advertisement. We reached out to the experts for their opinion, in an exclusive Surf Channel interview.
According to the President of the Shark Research Committee in Santa Barbara, California, sharks are not attracted to human blood. They are smarter than you think.
“Human blood is not a stimulant to a shark,” syas Ralph S. Collier, President of the Shark Research Committee. “A gentleman named David Baldridge did some experiments many years ago, decades ago where he used every fluid from the human body – he used spinal fluid, cranial fluid, blood, menstrual fluid… you name it, he used it. The only fluid that excited the shark was called peritoneal fluid, which is fluid from around the abdominal cavity organs.
“Otherwise sharks didn’t care about human blood – why? Well because we’re not a normal prey in the environment, their environment. So they’re not used to the scents our blood gives off, now if you want to talk about something that is on the white shark diet, like say a dead whale or a tuna, or a seal or something like that, sharks can smell concentrations of one part of the concentration. Whether it’s whale meat to 25 million parts of water. So you can have one molecule of the scent to every 25 million molecules of water. That’s how sensitive their nose is.”
For more information on sharks, check out The Science of Sharks: Part One- 4 Ways to Help Avoid a Shark Attack
All research provided by Ralph S. Collier and the Shark Research Committee. The Shark Research Committee studies sharks so that we as athletes can enjoy the ocean safely. For exclusive shark news and updates, sign up for the Shark Research Committee quarterly newsletter here. Help scientists at the Shark Research Committee continue to learn more about ocean safety for swimmers and surfers by donating to their research efforts.