Libra launches #bloodnormal campaign in Australia

New campaign aims to educate rather than shock to normalise depiction of periods in mainstream culture

Libra has brought its new #bloodnormal campaign to Australia, aiming to address the stigma around periods in mainstream culture.

In place of the usual blue liquid to denote blood, the campaign sees this replaced with red liquid to normalise the depiction of periods in advertising. Executive general manager of Asaleo Care’s retail business unit, Caitlin Patterson, told CMO the brand hadn't realised the extent to which period are still a taboo subject until it undertook some research that found 75 per cent of women still believed to it be more of one than STDs, drug usage and mental illness. 

“It affects men too and we thought for the good of society and the wellbeing of women, it’s important to start a conversation and help normalise it,” she said.

The brand’s campaign is built around its manifesto, #bloodnormal, which plays on Australia’s love of the word ‘bloody’ to give blood and periods an empowering, positive spin. The TV commercials use red liquid to normalise the depiction of periods in advertising.

“When we consider 50 per cent of the population for roughly 50 per cent of their life will have a period for three months of every year, it’s a huge thing for us to help women feel more comfortable with because it is such a huge part of their life for such a huge period of time,” Patterson continued.

“We’re acknowledging that sometimes it’s painful, sometimes it’s difficult, and not being scared to talk about it is bloody awesome."

The creative follows a series of young women going about their daily lives while having their period. The creative was originally created by AMV BBDO, and won a Glass Lion for Change at Cannes in 2018. The #bloodnormal ad has run in multiple countries through the brand’s shareholder associate, Essity.

It's since been adapted for A/NZ audiences. In Australia, the campaign itinerary includes two TV commercials, and sees Libra working with Australian influencers on Instagram and the local Shameless podcast. It's also partnered with the Neighbours TV program to integrate a period storyline into the show.

“It’s a very Australian campaign with lots of different elements that all hang off that manifesto and deliver the message in different ways," Patterson said. "That's part of the normalisation process to try to break this taboo - have it turn up in different and surprising and disarming ways.”

In addition, Libra’s Instagram page encourages people to ‘Ask Gem’ any weird and wonderful questions about periods, while its website has a series of tools and articles for ladies to feel empowered when on their period. The brand has also engaged Dr Lauren Rosewarne from the University of Melbourne, an expert on sex, sexuality and menstruation, to reflect on why it’s important to see periods feature in popular culture.

"Dr Rosewarne has a good perspective on what needs to be enabled to allow periods to be accepted as a normal part of life," Patterson commented. "And she believes the younger generation are receptive to the idea of normalising periods and showing them in all forms of media and mainstream culture and in conversation."

Patterson said responses via social and consumer feedback have been overwhelmingly positive and Libra is heartened by the movement its starting for consumers and society. Nonetheless, it anticipated some negative feedback because of the uncomfortabilities around the topic.

“It’s a bit of a tension point but it’s part of what we have to push through to meet our objectives of making people feel more comfortable about periods and showing them and talking about them should be too,” she said.

It’s not the first time advertising has tackled the topic of periods and attempted to inject some reality into the depiction of periods or challenged taboos around the subject. Patterson acknowledged Libra's latest efforts is s part of an ongoing change in attitudes.

“There have been lots of campaigns over the years that have helped push the boundaries of what people feel comfortable with, which we know have helped change the conversation and make periods more acceptable,” she said.

“Libra has been a pre-eminent brand in this category. And for us it was important to be consistent with Libra’s DNA as a brand and continue to push forward and be progressive and relevant to younger generations because they have a different appetite for this conversation.” 

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.  

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