Bodyform broke a pretty big taboo last month.. #bloodnormal
Anybody that knows me personally will know that I studied Advertising at university before graduating with a business and marketing degree. When I was studying I was lucky enough to study abroad in Australia and learn about Consumer Behaviour and Psychology, and it’s a subject I’m SO passionate about. Now, I’m a university lecturer teaching on a BA (Hon) Creative Advertising degree at the No.1 Arts University’s in the country.
People laugh when they learn that I have a YouTube playlist full of all my favourite commercials. I don’t care though because, to me, advertising is so much more than a corporate activity to make more money; advertising influences our behaviours and shapes our society. One of the most inspiring lectures I attended when I was studying at university was semiotics – the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation. Naturally, ever since this session, I’ve never been able to look at an advert in the same way.
There are so many adverts that I feel I could pick holes in, but hey, who am I to judge!? But there’s always been something that really grinds my gears. Whenever you see an advertisement for periods, why is the ‘blood’ blue!? This doesn’t make any sense. I assumed it was to do with branding until I noticed multiple brands doing this. I also noticed brands using flowers or something else (other than the forbidden colour, red) to illustrate a period.
Bodyformhave highlighted this issue as being detrimental to the perception of periods, and subsequently heightening womens anxiety. Nadia Mendoza, from The Self Esteem Team, comments on how campaigns such as #bloodnormal will have a vital part to play in paving the way for future generations. She comments: “Have you ever seen a woman bleed blue liquid? No. So why is this still the image that so many associate with periods?
When you observe the ads from a semiotic perspective, you can see why they’ve chosen to go with blues (associated with trust and freshness). But seriously, in this day in age, I’m sure we can handle seeing a little bit of blood. This marketing strategy is so severely outdated that it’s actually having a negative impact on their audience; 61% of women agree that the portrayal of periods in feminine hygiene advertising is unrealistic.
Mendoza continues… “The use of blue liquid to represent period blood can be damaging. It not only suggests that period blood is unsightly, shameful and something that should live firmly behind closed doors, it also paints a wholly unrealistic picture for young girls who are yet to start their periods. Starting your period for the first time is hard enough without the fear associated with the unexpected sight of blood. It’s scary. It’s unsetting and it’s unnecessary.”
Daring new #bloodnormal campaign tackles the “period taboo” head-on by realistically showing periods in feminine care advertising for the very first time. You go Glen Co Co! The new #bloodnormal campaign brings this to life by realistically showing periods in feminine care advertising and helps redefine the norm by simply depicting something that is seen by so many every month. It’s just a little blood, and it’s completely normal.
With a severe lack of realistic representation of periods in mainstream culture, Bodyform hopes its new film will be instrumental in leading these conversations and breaking the silence. Traci Baxter, the Marketing Manager at Bodyform, comments:
“We were so shocked by the results of our research that we publicly vowed to address the continued silence around periods. We know that the “period taboo” is damaging. It means people are more likely to struggle with the effects of period poverty, whilst others struggle with their mental health and wellbeing. As a leader in feminine hygiene, we want to change this by challenging the taboo and ultimately removing the stigma, making it even easier for anyone to talk about periods, now and in the future. This is exactly the reason why we launched #bloodnormal.
“We believe that like any other taboo, the more people see it, the more normal the subject becomes. So for Bodyform, after showing real blood and a real, in-situ sanitary towel, bringing the two together was a natural next step. In doing so, we remain committed to showing periods in everyday life, truthfully and honestly – because we feel it’s the right thing to do to. Together, we can help make blood normal.”
“Showing a true-to-life representation of period blood might seem like a small step, but it’s one that will be hugely beneficial in helping a new generation of young women to understand that periods are nothing to be ashamed of.”
Along with its new #bloodnormal campaign, Bodyform will also be tackling the “period taboo” in schools with bespoke educational classes run by experts at The Self Esteem Team. The classes, which are provided free to schools, will tackle issues associated with mental health and self- esteem, as well as the taboos surrounding menstruation.
It’s dead refreshing to see a brand doing everything within its power to change the negative perception of something so integral in women’s lives. This is more than a return-on-investment campaign, this is a movement.
Bodyform, manufactured by leading global hygiene and health company Essity, market a range of feminine protection products that are widely available in all major supermarkets and independent retailers.
Author: Sam Charles
Meet Sam, the creator behind UK lifestyle blog, Strawberry Squeeze 🍓 Sam is a newlywed living in Cornwall studying her PgDip in Strategic Direction and Leadership with the Chartered Management Institute 🍕🐰 She's also the Founder + Director of multi-award-winning SEO & PPC agency, Float Digital ✨