United Way plays with the tropes of menstrual ads

A new campaign to reduce period poverty adds mental health and keeping a job to the list of features and benefits.

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United Way’s new campaign highlights how the accessibility of menstrual products for low-income people goes beyond the benefits listed on the box.

The campaign, part of United Way’s ongoing goal of reducing, if not eliminating, period poverty, began running last week in B.C. The ads begin like a typical ad for menstrual products would, highlight features like being ultra thin or leak-free.

But then they add on other, more intangible benefits that come from making these products more accessible, such as how they can improve mental health by eliminating the stress that comes with someone wondering where their next pad or tampon is going to come from, or saving a job by allowing them to actually go while they are on their period.

“Nobody should have to choose between attending class or staying home,” said Patrick Brophy, provincial director for marketing and communications at United Way BC, in a release. United Way wants to parallel that with the difficult choice many in the community have to make between buying food or menstrual products, like tampons.

UW-final layouts-09This idea led to the insight that, for those living in poverty or other at-risk people, access to menstrual products could be the difference between missing work, school, or important appointments, which would adversely affect them, due to their status.

The ads will appear as posters at schools and places of business, according to Matt Bielby, creative director at Here Be Monsters, which led creative on the campaign. There are also video ads set to run across United Way’s social media platforms as well as YouTube. Post Pro Media provided support on the social videos.

Despite beginning recently, the campaign is already showing signs of success, evidenced by United Way reaching its goal of distributing 700,000 free menstrual products, up from 510,000 the previous year. In addition, the campaign included packages of menstrual products with the ads’ added claim on the side, which were given to elected officials and reporters to extend the message.