Bodyform and its Scandinavian equivalent, Libresse, have released a stylised film reworking the tropes of sanitary towel commercials. Notably, the ad begins with a shot of red, real blood being poured onto a pad, rather than the strange blue liquid of past creative.
The film was shot with grainy, retro realism by cinematographer Monika Lenczewska and director Daniel Wolfe. Against synth-driven electro music, it depicts girls going about daily life on their period – floating in the pool, picking up a new pack of towels and having a shower.
The latter shot focuses on the small drip of period blood down the girl’s leg.
“In the weeks running up to the shoot there were a number of interesting articles in the mainstream press challenging the status quo, and numerous pithy social media posts calling for change,” recalled Wolf. “‘Can’t wait for the day when women no longer pass tampons to a friend like they are a Class A drug’ was a quote that offered particular inspiration.
“We wanted to create something that provided a platform for discussion rather than trying to tell people what to think. And we hopefully made a film which isn’t defined by the gender of its director – a film which both women and men will take something from, hopefully helping instill the idea of a new normal.”
Unremarkable in theory but boundary-pushing in practice, the 20-second film from AMV BBDO kicks off a new #Bloodnormal campaign. It was informed by the brand’s research that showed 9 out of 10 women still attempt to hide their periods, due in part to the taboo surrounding them on in culture, in advertising and in wider society.
A longer cut of the film has been released exclusively by Libresse. It explores the different ways women deal with periods around the world and, after showing shots of menstruating women in states of both pain and joy, ends with a girl changing her pad with the collected blood pixelated.
The line reads: ‘Periods are normal. Showing them should be too’.
The creative will run across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, digital and Snapchat in the UK, the Netherlands and the Nordic regions.
Additionally, Libresse and Bodyform are offering a bursary to fund the creation of three further short films openly referencing periods to continue the normalisation of menstrual blood. These spots will be made by aspiring film talent who will be guided by production company Flare Studio.
Tanja Grubner, global marketing & communications director at parent brand Essity, said: “As a leader in feminine hygiene, we want to challenge the stigma around periods. We believe that like any other taboo, the more people see it, the more normal the subject becomes.
"We want to lead the way with a campaign that tackles the taboo head on by positively showing periods in action in everyday life truthfully and honestly - because we feel it’s the right thing to do for society.”
The piece follows on from last year’s Red Fit campaign and 2012’s The Truth, which hilariously spoofed a man’s Facebook comment complaining that sanitary brands lie to men about how much fun women have on their periods.