Tackling the Taboos, and Winning

Columbus, OH — I know this may be TMI, but women have periods. Yep, I said it. Voices in the conversation about periods in the U.S. (and internationally) have gotten louder over the past few years, with movements like Free the Tampons, which started here in Columbus, and the advent of new products like THINX, underwear (actually, stylish underwear), that absorbs women’s periods. What I find most interesting isn’t the invention of the period underwear itself; I hope that with advancing technology we’d be constantly thinking of ways to improve “that time of the month” for women. To me, the conversations that have sprung up are the most fascinating part. Whether it’s about the risqué nature of THINX’s ads or how THINX’s founder may be using feminism to her advantage, the debates rage on about how these products should be marketed. Personally, I love how the ads capture the way women today really think and talk (see this article for some awesome examples). They address our questions head on in gutsy, funny ways and tackle “period shaming” with a loud roar. No woman should feel shame about this very normal aspect of womanhood, and brands can play an important role in changing attitudes.

Why this matters:

Brands that tackle health-related taboos are winning over the hearts and wallets of consumers, and THINX isn’t the only one (check out Damiva). As we craft marketing communications for these brands and products, it’s important stay empathetic to the audience, not glossing over the questions they have about topics that are traditionally seen as gross, scary, or weird. The brands that navigate these challenging waters successfully are the ones that win.

Hannah is an Associate Director of Innovation at GSW, a full-service healthcare advertising agency. Check out The Health Experience Project blog (healthexperienceproject.com) for more points-of-view like this one.

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