The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!
From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

Kotex SheCan Initiative: The Menstruation Machines by Simone Giertz

Audience Honor in Education


Around the world, periods are often subject to secrecy, shame and stigma. And in turn, many lack the appropriate education about menstruation, exacerbating the issues at hand and causing women and girls to be held back (in some countries to extreme lengths). Kotex found that even with the internet at everyone’s fingertips, if caregivers and the youth turn to search or social media destinations, like YouTube, for answers to their questions about menstruation, they are often met with pseudo-educational content that is clinical, boring, graphic or inaccurate. 

To combat these realities, Kotex launched the SheCan Initiative - its purpose is to champion women’s progress by fighting period stigmas and promote access to menstrual education in schools and communities. Because no girl or woman should have to put her progress on hold for her period.

In 2021, the Kotex SheCan Initiative’s focus was to create factually accurate menstrual education content that is entertaining and engaging to everyone - more specifically video content that would help mothers/caregivers/older girls educate daughters/younger girls about to start their first periods.

The goals for the content was three-pronged:

  1. Flip the script on menstrual health education, turning it from boring, uncomfortable biology to something interesting that will hook and keep people’s attention, measured by Views & Average View Duration.   

  2. Be different and memorable - something people (and the press) wanted to share. With limited paid support, we measured this by earned impressions & social shares.

  3. Inspire open conversation to de-stigmatize periods, measured by Comment volume and likes.

But to do these things, we needed to enlist the support of a true entertainer…

Strategy and Execution

When it comes to understanding how something works, oftentimes it’s best to just see it in action. To give moms, caregivers and other generations the visual tool to explain, we partnered with social media personality and creator, Simone Giertz, to build one of a kind Period Machines that helps to explain how, and why, a period works. Simone’s engineering talent coupled with her quirky personality made the Menstruation Machines’s content real, honest, and witty – which kept viewers engaged in videos about periods.

Simone leaned into a fresh look & feel, personal anecdotes, the data-driven science, and even her wardrobe to grab viewers’ attention from the very onset of the video and keep them engaged until the end. Known for her mad-scientist, machine-making skills, and her curious and diverse audience on YouTube, Simone’s innate ability to disarm audiences, while inviting them in to learn and laugh was truly a highlight and reason for success of this partnership. And her approach organically, and triumphantly, pushed up against stigma around periods by being so matter of fact.

In determining our distribution strategy, YouTube was the obvious choice as the hub for our content. Simone Giertz had an existing community on YouTube, who served as the launch audience for our videos. In addition, YouTube provided very functional advantages as we extended the reach. The platform allows for content to be accessed globally, in all markets where Kotex operates. YouTube acts as an ideal digital destination for our earned outreach, allowing our video to be embedded in earned articles and amass views to better it’s organic search potential. We were also able to leverage the language features within YouTube to bring this content to many diverse markets. 

More specifically, the video content, shot in English, was uploaded to the main Kotex Global YouTube channel and then shared with markets across the globe who were responsible for translating the English captions in their local market language and uploading the .txt for closed captions. This attempt to remove any language barrier for the viewer, was an effort to ensure the content could reach and benefit as many people as possible. To date, the content has been viewed in over 127 countries, and that’s just to the start to the campaign’s success…


As we watched these videos grow in popularity and reach, we far surpassed our goals.

  1. Not only did we make menstrual health interesting, but we also blew our KPI out of the water! We’d hoped to reach 10,900 views, which is 4x the view count of our highest performing She Can Initiative video. We were blown away when we saw 1.1 M organic impressions (and growing) within 7 months of launch. Of those views, the average percentage view is 63.5%, at just over 4 minutes, showing people stuck around to learn.

  2. We saw videos amass thousands of earned 11.5 organic impressions with 10 earned articles and 9k+ shares on YouTube alone.

  3. And we saw people supporting this content- both in the 74,000+ likes, and 1800+ comments. Dads of daughters chimed in and said that this helped de-stigmatize periods so they could talk to their daughters. One father commented, “I came to see Simone, I walked away more educated and able to talk about periods properly with my daughter who has just hit puberty.”

  4. We saw the video educating people from 127 countries with 72% female/28% male (males averaged longer view time than females)

The Kotex SheCan Initiative was able to push forward on their mission of educating people and pushing up against stigma with this simple yet profound approach to sharing facts and science. The videos continue to get more views by the day and be shared across the globe as a resource for learning about a period. 


Video for Kotex SheCan Initiative: The Menstruation Machines by Simone Giertz

Entrant Company / Organization Name

ACE Content, Kotex


Entry Credits