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:
[THIS IS A SCREENSHOT OF THE AD, TO SEE IT, CLICK HERE. PLEASE CLICK]
Did you click on it?
Seriously, you have to.
Here’s the link again for the people who are too lazy to scroll up.
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.
Maybe the reason is young women DON’T WANT TO TAKE OUT THEIR PAD AND BLOODY PLAY WITH IT.
Then there’s the brilliant comment that this idea helps the brand reach out and establish a more intimate connection with their user base.
ARE YOU KIDDING?
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.
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