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Rap battle: Mooncup vs Fiat 500. Which brand knows women best?

Mooncup and Fiat have both recently launched rap-themed adverts in a bid to connect with women. Kate Frearson and Gail Parminter from the advertising agency Madwomen feel one brand's effort falls short of the mark, but which will it be?

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Feminine hygiene brands have never found it easy talking about menstruation and have often used metaphors and clichés to hide or distort the realities of having a period. We’ve even seen ads that try to glamourise and even sexualise periods. So, while using rap as a device isn’t new, Mooncup have found a way to start a discussion about the different forms of protection available in an accessible way.

Building on the more straight-talking inroads made by Kotex recently for their range of tampons and panty liners (which claimed to “start a conversation about vaginas”), Mooncup’s Rap Battle is one of the most educational and entertaining side-by-side product comparisons I’ve seen in a long while.

Mooncup is introducing a positive, healthy and eco-friendly alternative product to young women, in an attention grabbing way to an audience who form their brand preferences at a young age that lasts till the menopause.

Whilst rap music comes from urban gang culture, its use here allows girls to give peer to peer advice in a clear no nonsense, entertaining way, in a gang-to-gang confrontation consistent with the music genre. It taps into the modern pop culture teens and twenty-something’s are part of in a way that West Side Story did for a previous generation.

Some will no doubt say that the use of rap here is reflecting a macho adversarial bullying locker room culture but it’s done in a light-hearted way gets over some interesting facts and a message that’s well worth hearing. For once here’s an ad aimed at women that encourages us to think politically about menstruation and talk about our bodies and the effects of the products were sold – both on us, and on the environment.

It’s a clever way of having a direct conversation in a way that most brands in the feminine hygiene category squirm away from. The viral recognises that women no longer want to hear from brands, or a hired expert, telling them what to think, and who are instead listening to more trustworthy sources – other women like themselves.

This is a breath of fresh air and, for us, beats the pants off Fiat 500’s Motherhood Rap for relevance, raising real issues and entertainment.

Fiat 500 Large

Clearly an amusing viral, but is it a good ad? How many of the hits are from people in the market for this car? Assuming people even remember the car, how many will get that this is not for the Fiat 500 - a small car – but for the 500 LARGE that can I guess fit in 3 kids as well?

What do those mums with three kids who may have watched it, make of it? A funny take on the negatives of motherhood, yes. But does the Essex-model-stay-at-home mum in her beautiful home reflect any reality typical working mums can connect to? The response on Mumsnet was mixed, with just as many mums hating it as liking it.

The viral doesn’t do much to project a positive or even accurate stereotype, given that most women go out to work as well as raise a family (work is mentioned in the viral, but fleetingly). In reality, being a lonely, long-suffering martyr-mother isn’t a very funny situation to be in – women have been sold the ‘having it all’ myth, but we all know it just means we have to ‘do it all’.

The viral will be successful because it’s a surprising stereotype amongst the idealised images of motherhood projected by the media – but will it really do a lot for Fiat’s brand in the long term? It is actually just another ideal – the mum who knows she has a rough deal, but puts up with up with it in the name of ‘motherhood’.

Interestingly, the rap that Fiat most likely took their inspiration from does a much better job of taking giving us a tongue-in-cheek look at modern parenthood – even showing, dare we say it, a dad.

So when it comes to “rap wars”, Mooncup is the winner for us as it actually puts across highly relevant product information and benefits to its target audience. The proof will be seen in the sales, which is the entire purpose of all advertising, viral or conventional, and I think Mooncup will do well. We're certainly ordering one right now.

Kate Frearson and Gail Parminter are planning director and creative director respectively, at Madwomen, a marketing consultancy specialising in connecting brands with today’s women.

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