Thinx has a history of stigma-smashing ad campaigns—from our first campaign in the New York City subway to our ads featuring trans folks—and we’re proud to say we’re never going to back down from bringing awareness to the real lives of people with periods. We wanted our first national television ad campaign to challenge new audiences to get comfortable with periods — tackling the stigma around menstruation means being able to talk about it more openly.
To start, we asked ourselves how we could improve conversations around menstruation and make it an easier topic for everyone to talk about. We wanted to showcase scenarios that people with periods would find relatable, but we also believe that having a period shouldn’t be a prerequisite for learning or talking about them. Naturally, our team was drawn to the ad concept featuring cisgender men experiencing the everyday life of people with periods. If everyone had periods, would we be able to talk about them more openly?
We also wanted to introduce Thinx to people who don’t even know period underwear exists, let alone know the brand, and turn them into customers. While we have customers across the country, our base tends to dwell in urban areas. As such, a key piece of creating this ad was to make sure people know we exist. The research Thinx conducted before producing the ad was encouraging. The percentage of people surveyed who were very likely to buy or will buy the product was 58%, as compared to the typical figure of about 42%.
People with periods are taught from a young age that one of the body's most natural processes—the menstrual cycle—is something to be ashamed of, and something we should go to great lengths to conceal. We want to change that, and when some networks chose to censor the MENstruation ad for showing a tampon string, we fought back. These TV networks have had menstrual taboos of their own reinforced by mainstream period solutions companies: They’re used to commercials that use blue liquid in place of the color of blood, or rely on euphemisms for menstruation instead of showing real-life situations. The CEO of Thinx ultimately penned a column for TIME in which she defended our choice and called out the networks for censoring people with periods.
At its core, our goal with MENstruation was to encourage conversation about menstruation that includes cisgender men and continues to chip away at the taboo around menstruation, and we could not be happier with our results. In terms of paid social media metrics, Facebook and Instagram ads reached a total of 11.9 million people, with 2.7 million plays across those channels. We also reached 3.2 million people on Pinterest and 3.8 million on Youtube alone! We also garnered a total of 5.5 million views on third party channels, with 270,000 views on YouTube and 1,000 comments via Thinx platforms alone.
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