An ad which normalises menstruation by using the colour red to represent blood has been banned by Facebook for being ‘sensational’.
‘The New Way to Period’ campaign for period and leak-proof underwear brand Modibodi was recently launched in a bid to end the centuries old view that periods are ‘gross’ or shameful in addition to heralding a new more sustainable approach to managing periods.
After three reviews by Facebook’s policy team, the 60-second film has been barred for advertising use for violating guidelines regarding shocking, sensational, disrespectful or excessively violent content. YouTube had also initially banned the ad but later rescinded the decision following a review and the commercial is also running on regional free-to-air and subscription TV.
Facebook has indicated for the film to be used for advertising, three offending scenes which use the colour red to represent menstrual blood have to be edited out.
Naomi Shepherd, Director, Facebook Australia and New Zealand said while she “loves” Modibodi is trying to normalise periods, it comes down to Facebook’s strict advertising policy.
“I love the video that Modibodi has created to normalise periods, encourage discussion, and promote their underwear range. The full 60 second video is available to view on their Facebook page and Instagram account.
“Our Community Standards outline what is and isn’t allowed on our free services, however, when it comes to ads on Facebook we have a higher set of standards for what content can be included in an ad. Our Advertising Policies are more restrictive because they take paid distribution to appear in people’s personal News Feeds and clearly state that ads must not contain text or images that may shock or that focuses on someone’s personal attributes, including their physical or mental health condition.”
Modibodi CEO and Founder, Kristy Chong criticised Facebook’s decision as outdated.
“Our aim for this film was to open people’s minds by taking the stigma out of what is a perfectly natural bodily function for women. It was not made to be deliberately sensational or provocative, but to show the very real and natural side of periods.
“We’ve used red to represent blood from day one and ‘The New Way to Period’ shows the real side of menstruation and that there are better options available than eco-damaging disposable pads, liners and tampons.
“It’s the twenty-first century and it’s disappointing Facebook doesn’t want to normalise the conversation around menstruation. We also note that other media platforms have not taken the same direction as Facebook,” says Kristy.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Modibodi has experienced backlash for its honest representation of periods.
While the brand has fierce supporters, throughout its history Modibodi has also had some very vocal detractors, seeing period underwear or even the mention of periods on a public forum as unacceptable. Many have expressed their dislike with comments such as ‘disgusting’, ‘filthy’ and vomit emojis.
“From the very beginning, I was repeatedly told we’d need super glamorous models to make supposed unmentionable topics (menstruation and incontinence) tolerable to Australian women and the media
“I refused to believe this was the only way we could have a presence in the market and from day one we’ve sourced customers or everyday women from diverse backgrounds to help model and sell our products,” says Kristy.
In 2019, Modibodi conducted a pop-up tour across Australia to showcase their innovative product range and demonstrate how Australians are embracing change.
“After a handful of complaints from the general public some of the pop-up venues demanded that we cover our ‘leak proof undies’ signs. We also had a number of radio advertisements pulled from the air in 2019 after a small pool of listeners complained that the topic wasn’t appropriate for mainstream media,” says Kristy.
As a company, Modibodi has always faced their opposers head on, encouraging them to open up the conversation surrounding the issue, and ultimately, challenge them to try Modibodi before making a judgment.
Recent research by Modibodi found that one in three young girls are afraid of talking about periods and the brand is on a mission to replace fear and shame by helping everyone embrace their bodies.
Shot and directed by award-winning Sydney-based director Dani Pearce, the script for the film follows the journey of multiple women, each with their own nuance and story as they embrace the new way to period.
Creative agency Emotive were recently appointed as the global creative agency for Modibodi and led the campaign strategy.
‘The New Way to Period’ film launched on 16 September and is being shown across multiple platforms including regional free to air and subscription TV, connected TV, digital and out of home media, and Modibodi’s own channels.
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