The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Why Period Pain Is Made Worse By Advertising …
October 24, 2014, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

A while back I wrote a post about a company that was trying to remove the taboo regarding periods.

In the post, I questioned whether it was going to achieve it’s goal because having spent quite a long time working in this category, the information and insights gained from hundreds of interviews, seemed to fly in the face of what they were doing.

Well recently I saw something that makes them look like they were respectful and resonant because there’s a campaign that, in all honesty, is one of the most stupid things I’ve ever seen.

Have a look at this:


Did you click on it?

Seriously, you have to.

Here’s the link again for the people who are too lazy to scroll up.

Seen it?

No, your eyes didn’t deceive you, it really is an app to allow girls on their period to ‘share their moment’ with their friends.

What the hell were they thinking?

The justification for this campaign was explained as this:

“Pads are something all women buy, but not something they usually take out and play with. Nobody in the segment was using mobile to engage with consumers, and we saw a unique opportunity to reach out and establish a more intimate connection”.



Let’s look at that statement for a second.

On one level the spokesperson is saying that because no one had done it before, that was all the justification they needed to do it.

Errrrrm, did they not consider that there may be a reason no one has done it before?

Maybe the reason is young women don’t want to broadcast their period to the wider World.


Then there’s the brilliant comment that this idea helps the brand reach out and establish a more intimate connection with their user base.


You’ve made an app that lets girls tell the World they’re on their period.

Even the most open, confident women doesn’t want to do that and in China, there is a whole world of complex cultural issues that make many women – and young girls – fear their period, not want to promote it. Even if they can do it via one of their beloved cutesy emoticon stickers.

Unsurprisingly, a man was behind all those quotes.

Oh but hang on Rob, the press release talks about the great results they had.

“Since the campaign launched in August, the app has been downloaded 280,000 times. Those who downloaded it, have used it more than 10 times. Meanwhile, the number of online brand mentions jumped 21% to 5.74 million after the app launched.”

Again, a couple of things.

While many in adland would state that those “results” are very favourable, there are two points that need to act as filters.

1. China has approximately 690,000,000 women … which means 280,000 downloads is incredibly small.

2. Brand mentions is an incredibly ambigious metric given this would classify as one and it’s hardly complimentary.

Without doubt, there are issues and taboos that advertising can help remove – and where periods are concerned, there’s a whole host of issues and taboos that need dealing with – however, as this campaign shows, the sad truth is that the real reason adland says they are keen to take on these issues is because they see the chance to make some self-serving, cheap-publicity, award-gaining bullshit.

In other words, they don’t really give a shit about the issue, just the industry applause.

And what gets me more is that according to the credits, not 1 … not 2 … but 3 planners were involved in this.


What the hell?

I can’t wait for the next stage of the campaign, it’s probably going to be a special edition of China Idol where all the contestants are on their period.

Seriously, periods are a massive issue and while I absolutely agree that to change attitudes and opinion, you have to take the issue head-on – and this issue, especially in China, desperately needs dealing with – but that doesn’t mean you just blindly go into something just because it hasn’t been done before or is the absolute-opposite of the cultural convention.

That said, the agency behind this has done a bunch of good, good work over the years. This, however, isn’t one of them.

So to the people behind it, my advice is not to enter this into any awards, because if you do … you’d better hope I’m not on the jury.

29 Comments so far
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That is the most retarded thing I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a lot of retarded things.

Comment by DH

what did you do at work today daddy?

i made an app that lets women tell everyone theyre on their monthly.

why are you such a fucking retard daddy?

Comment by andy@cynic

A perfect recreation of what probably happened the night the person behind this idea went home.

Do you work for the NSA?

Comment by Rob

Nice takedown. Not as good as icandy prams, but still good.

Comment by DH

I know … but iCandy awakened all my fears about baby costs whereas this is just stupidity wrapped in stupidity.

Comment by Rob

You only shamed, not named. Who did it?

Comment by DH

Seems it was JWT Shanghai and the comments are from their head of digital. All makes sense now doesn’t it.

Comment by Bazza

total fucking sense.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by DH

Should you meet the people responsible for this Robert, please slap them hard across the face for me. I never advocate violence but this is more than embarrassing, it is insulting.

Comment by Mary Bryant

you are my fucking hero.

Comment by andy@cynic

WOW. You really do hate this don’t you Mary.

Comment by Rob

Have you happy slapped the man behind the app yet? Mary wants to know what you’re waiting for. (I’ve got this for you Mary)

Comment by DH

Only advertising would proudly state terrible results. Horrible everything.

Comment by Bazza

I’m surprised they didn’t think of using sentiment analysis of an individual’s online activity as a predictor of when these products might be about to be used or, failing that, they could have jumped on the internet of things bandwagon and suggested that they create interactive pads!

Equally dumb and cliched ideas that it took me ten seconds to come up with. And I’m not even three planners.

Yet another example of the communication flavour of the moment taking precedence over any consideration of the human issues and emotions of the situation.

Comment by John

And, maybe I’m being incredibly naive about this, but wouldn’t it be interesting to address/educate men as part of a campaign?

Comment by John

we tried to do that once doddsy and the fuckers didnt want to know. thats when we realised they dont give a fuck about helping women just selling to them. and the reason you can come up with ideas like that is because youre not a planning retard at a fucking multinational agency. things are looking up.

Comment by andy@cynic

Not as good as our Huggies work though Andy. That was bloody brilliant.

Comment by Rob

A brand did that once John … J&J and they did it with grace so it was genuinely useful and valuable to young girls as opposed to this award-seeking bullshit.

[If it wins an award, I will kill myself. No, I’ll kill the judges]

Comment by Rob

kill the judges then ill kill you.

Comment by andy@cynic

those 2 quotes from the adtwat behind this shit should haunt him for the rest of his fucking horrible life. what will happen is some other wanker at another agency will headhunt him because they think he is a digital fucking visionary when hes really a fucking sexist twat that doesnt understand people, numbers or creativity.

Comment by andy@cynic

Adland needs you back.

Comment by DH

Robert, do you think this was a case of Chinese hierarchal culture where no one felt comfortable contradicting the wishes of their leader? Assuming it was the leaders idea.

Comment by Lee Hill

I’m not sure Lee. In a weird way, I’d like to think so … but when I see how many people were involved in it, I think they might actually all believe this is brilliant.

Comment by Rob

Strategy: I guess we can add ‘discreet’ to the long list of words for which there is no direct Mandarin translation.

Execution: another depressing display of the infantilisation of women. Hello Kitty has got the painters in …

Comment by Ian Gee

Gold. Or should I say red?

Comment by DH

Oh God, I agree with all of the comments, what’s happening.

Comment by Ciaran McCabe

3 planners
Digital planners perchance
Seems like something tbwa would ie disruptive but not in way anyone could appreciate

Comment by Northern

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