Discourse around female health is slowly changing, with brands like Libresse and Elvie helping to deconstruct taboos and misconceptions. However, there’s still some way to go before these changes are fully adopted by the public – after all, longstanding damaging societal norms can’t be reverted overnight.
Periods are still often a source of frustration and shame, a point made in a new ad by underwear brand, Thinx. However, the stars of the ad aren’t exclusively women. Instead it’s mainly men enduring these hurdles, in an attempt to bridge the gap in communication about periods between genders.
Titled MENstruation, the ad opens with a teenage boy getting his first period, before addressing leaks, dropped sanitary pads, and the dreaded string peeking out. Of course, these clumsy ‘slip ups’ and awkward interactions double as a selling point for Thinx’s products, which are designed to absorb period blood and ultimately avoid these experiences.
Speaking of the campaign, Thinx Inc. CEO Maria Molland highlights that “people with periods are taught from a young age that one of our body’s natural processes is something to be ashamed of, and something we should go to great lengths to conceal. We’re taught to hide our period products in our sleeves on the way to the restroom, and constantly check our clothes for any leaks or stains. In fact, 80% of teens [with periods] report a negative association with periods, and say they are gross or unsanitary.” To combat this, the campaign aims to normalise the subject of periods by extending the conversation to the half of the population that doesn’t experience them, namely cisgender men.
“Our goal was authenticity and empathy,” said Crystal Rix, Chief Strategy Officer of BBDO New York, the agency behind the campaign. “So much of the industry and culture uses ridiculous euphemism to talk about periods. We wanted an honest and sincere attempt to build understanding and empathy for people with periods.”
Agency: BBDO New York
CCOs: David Lubars, Greg Hahn
VP Creative Directors: Bianca Guimaraes, Peter Alsante
Associate Creative Directors: Jenn Tranbarger, Jess Rello
Production company: Biscuit
Director: Rachel McDonald