Promoting sanitary pads, naturally.
Brits, like many others, have been conditioned to recoil from bodily fluids. Ads for nappies, incontinence pads, contraceptives, ‘personal hygiene’ products, etc, have all traditionally been handled with extreme care.
It seems all these products must be advertised using delicate metaphors involving white flowers, fresh breezes, or luminous coloured liquid, thank you very much. Even when targeted at those who buy these products, the reason for buying them has to be treated like a state secret.
Characters in ads will show off their pearly whites as they run around in the sunshine, roller blade through the park, or flash a knowing look and subtle wink at the camera as they answer the door to a group of female friends.
Voiceover artists will use hushed tones to emphasise just how important it is to treat these things with absolute discretion, lest anyone finds out that the advertised product is necessary because, well, these functions and excretions are all perfectly normal and natural.
But admit it, you winced when I used the word excretions just now. And that might be the issue. The public might not quite be ready. Does it have to be this way? Will it always be this way? And, dare I ask, does the traditional approach taken by advertisers entrench and even exacerbate the problem?
Could it be that the advertising industry is complicit in perpetuating the stigma around periods, and in making young girls (and even older girls and women) feel embarrassed and ashamed of discussing periods? Or is the industry merely reflecting society’s own sensitivities?
Well, Bodyform is about to find out the answers to some of these questions.
It has decided to tackle this taboo head on in an effort to remove the stigma around periods.
In an ad for its sanitary pads, rather than keeping the charade going with alien-coloured liquid, they have — shock horror — used a red rather than blue liquid to represent blood.
The statement is bold.
The cause is a great one.
But how will the British public react? And how will the men and women at the Advertising Standards Authority react?
We’ll find out in the next few days and weeks!
In the meantime, here’s an article from the HuffPo where you can see the ad http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/bodyforms-new-tv-advert-depicts-real-period-blood-in-uk-first_uk_59e4959de4b03a7be581deaa