Mysterious blue fluid has become a staple of sanitary product advertising, but in a new ad for Bodyform and Libresse this has been shunned in favour of a scientifically accurate and recognisable red. The #BloodNormal campaign by agency AMV BBDO and director Daniel Wolfe, with cinematography by Monika Lenczewska, is the first to ignore taboo and show that women bleed “real blood” during their period.
The film shows a sanitary towel being tested, in a similar way to most sanitary towel adverts. Instead of using blue liquid – a device employed to avoid showing blood – the ad shows red liquid being poured on to the product. It also displays a quote from the Assorted TV Broadcast Authorities Worldwide in 2017 stating “The sight of period blood is unacceptable” after a series of vignettes that aim to challenge the stigma and embarrassment surrounding periods. These include shots of women openly asking for a pad among friends, a man buying pads in a shop, a girl bleeding in the shower, and another changing a pad.
According to a survey by the brand, over a third of women thought of periods as taboo, ahead of mental health problems and the gender pay gap; and 56% of girls would prefer to be bullied at school than talk to their parents about periods.
The ad follows last year’s award-winning Red.Fit campaign by the agency, which aimed to “inspire and empower women to live fearlessly” and drive wider conversation, knowledge and understanding of how menstruation affects women when they exercise. The 2016 campaign film Blood won acclaim for showing women bleeding in various sports, “but not letting it stop them”.
Daniel Wolfe said in a statement that one comment he saw on social media – “Can’t wait for the day when women no longer pass tampons to a friend like they are a Class A drug” – 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 instil the idea of a new normal.”
#BloodNormal will run online in the UK and parts of Europe.