By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

October 20, 2017 | 5 min read

The scenario: you’re scrolling through your phone, and an ad pops up… showing a blood-soaked sanitary pad.


That’s just what happened this week, when Bodyform released its new ad, which proudly proclaims that "periods are normal – showing them should be too".

It’s a bold move from Bodyform, to turn away from the watery, blue, Windex type liquid to red (a colour which has previously been persona non grata in ads related to periods), and social media has come out in two camps.

Team Blood: "yay, about time". Team Blue Liquid: "dear God, I don’t want to see that".

Not sure where you sit? Take a look at some of the arguments…

Team Blood

Team Blue Liquid

It’s clearly a topic causing a lot debate – there are over 500 comments on the original Facebook post, and over 250 uses of the #bloodnormal hashtag.

What I found interesting from looking at the comments is that it’s not mainly men that are on the "eww, blood" side of things. It’s women, ie the people this actually happens to on a monthly basis, who are not in favour of the red.

Either way, it’s definitely performing well as a social campaign and is making the brand stand out. When else have you seen hundreds of people openly discuss their periods with strangers? Probably never.

It’s great to break the taboo. It’s a great ad, and it’s a fantastic way to help normalise periods – showing the ups, downs and giant pants. But will it make all that much difference? The jury is out on that one. After all, it’s the same… but with a red test tube, not a blue one.

Does this mean we’re coming to an age of realism in advertising and we’ll show everything exactly as is it, warts and all?

Probably not.

Actually, hopefully not – especially when it comes to toilet rolls and nappies.

I’m all for realism in advertising but let’s stick to the Andrex puppies.

Ishbel Macleod is a PR and social media consultant at Equator. Before that, she was a journalist at The Drum. You can follow her on Twitter @Ishbel_Macleod

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