Tampon and pad brands love encouraging menstruators to ‘get active!’ ‘wear white’ or even to ‘cheer through the bleed’ in campaigns.
Boody, Australia’s B Corp certified underwear brand, has taken aim at these ads with a contrasting approach. To promote its new period and leak-proof underwear, the brand has released a campaign with alt/shift/Sydney telling its audience to ‘do less’ while on their period.
“On most days, we’re superheroes. But not today,” the video ad begins, showing models lounging in their underwear eating pizza, or slumping in discomfort on the toilet seat.
“Be kind to yourself and the planet.”
Subverting narratives of empowerment
The menstrual market’s usual ‘do a happy dance’ message taps into girlboss narratives of female empowerment. These brands sell products by showing women their pads or leak-proof underwear feel so comfortable they will completely forget they even have their period and be able to take on anything that comes at them.
But there is another popular feminist discourse that asks less of women and people who menstruate. It centres around how our working lives and society in general cater to the typical 24-hour hormonal cycles of cis men, rather than the 28-day cycles of cis women.
The campaign taps into these politics of menstruation, as well as discussions trending online among the new generation of workers that reject productivity as a measure of worth, particularly in the wake of the pandemic.
Boody has cleverly weaved this serious sentiment into a softer, self-care aesthetic, featuring models lounging in Boody underwear in trendy interiors.
Disruption in period marketing
Disruption is becoming an increasingly popular tactic in marketing period products. The UK brand Bodyform was reportedly the first to show blood in a pad advert in 2017. Australia’s Modibodi has followed suit, releasing a taboo-busting campaign in June that featured red blood and masturbation on your period.
#DoLess was the first campaign alt/shift/Sydney put together for Boody. During the ideation process, the agency recognised the role that Boody could play in helping reshape the nation’s views on periods without treading the same territory as Bodyform or Modibodi.
“We knew there was a real opportunity to break the mould and set a new standard for Australians who menstruate,” says alt/shift/Sydney general manager Andie Crawford.
“With #DoLess, we’re making a statement against the truly unrealistic period ads and creating something far more achievable. This campaign is one that, as an agency, we are really proud to be a part of.”
“When landing on the campaign creative, we worked closely with alt/shift/Sydney to create something that was ownable and that would reflect our core values,” says Boody’s global head of brand and marketing Ruth Haffenden.
“We wanted to make our mark within the menstrual market but in a way that was against the status quo and that would make a real difference to the lives of Australians that menstruate.”