Steve Blakeman in Marketing y Producto, Marketing, Advertising Columnist • Inc Magazine Oct 25, 2017 · 2 min read · +900

Only Women Bleed Blue #bloodnormal

Only Women Bleed Blue #bloodnormal 

The first ever sanitary pad campaign to feature red blood rather than the usual blue gel has just been released by Bodyform in the UK. The ad is creating real controversy with some saying it's about bloody time whilst others are seeing red at the idea.


If you haven't seen it, the 20 second commercial (above) features synthetic red menstrual blood twice in the ad. It's seen being poured from a test tube onto a Bodyform sanitary towel and also running down a woman's leg whilst she is in the shower.


On the positive side, the realistic depiction of period blood has been applauded by many women. Bodyform themselves launched the campaign with an explanatory tweet which said:

“Contrary to popular belief, women don’t bleed blue liquid, they bleed blood. Periods are normal. Showing them should be too. #bloodnormal”

The response on Twitter was largely positive with various comments, predominantly from women. For example:

"YESSSS a marketing campaign that I think may finally change stereotypes of happy, white trouser wearing, yoghurt eating women on their periods. Thank you"

However, there were also a fair proportion of dissenters, for example @abbeylouu who stated:

"I’m sorry but  @bodyform yes we get that blood is normal, but we don’t wanna see it on our TV's when we’re eating our dinner! Disgusting"

And some went even further. People questioned where we should draw the line when it comes to bringing down the barriers of various taboos. For example, quite a few commenters questioned whether advertising for toilet paper was now going to see people wiping their backsides and showing the results to the camera to prove that their brand wipes off more excrement than their competitors. Sounds like sh*t to me. I think I'd still prefer the Andrex puppy to be honest.

In defense of the ground-breaking commercial, Bodyform Marketing Controller Traci Baxter told Cosmopolitan:

“We know that the ‘period taboo’ is damaging... we want to change this by challenging the taboo and ultimately removing the stigma, making it even easier for anyone to talk about periods, now and in the future”

This sentiment was echoed by Essity, the owners of the brand, who declared that they have responded to research which suggests that 3/4's of consumers wanted to see more 'honesty' portrayed in adverts.


I've got to be honest, I think it's a refreshing change to see an ad for a sanitary towel that isn't full of cliched imagery of (apparently menstruating) women vigorously rollerskating down a beach promenade in pastel hued Daisy Duke shorts. I also think that the client and ad agency deserve a modicum of credit for developing a campaign with genuine talk-ability which is creating a huge amount of free PR.

All that said, in the spirit of balance, I do wonder if some of the more squeamish amongst us might find it all a little overwhelming - not least for those who suffer from haemophobia. I also get the point about where does all this 'honesty in advertising' end up? As mentioned previously, turds on toilet paper? Or maybe snot smeared tissues? Pus soaked plasters? Urine infused incontinence pants? Semen filled condoms? I mean, just how 'honest' do we want advertisers to be?

So what do you think? Should Bodyform be applauded for their honest portrayal of women's periods or have they gone too far with a subject that is simply too sensitive? I'm pretty sanguine about it but does it make your blood boil? As ever, I'm keen to hear your thoughts...

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Arvind Kumar Oct 8, 2018 · #13

User removed

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Steve Blakeman Nov 7, 2017 · #12

#11 @🐝 Fatima G. Williams thanks for the comments. As a father of 3 daughters it's a topic thats close to my heart. I never want my girls to feel that their period is wrong in any way and they have absolutely no reason to be ashamed of something that is biologically normal. I think you are right though, it might be a while before they go ahead with the ad in other countries!

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🐝 Fatima G. Williams Nov 6, 2017 · #11

First, I was surprised for a guy to write about this. So Thank you @Steve Blakeman hats off! And then even more surprised that a company decided to feature this with red gel. I think they can cut out the showering part because that really isn't necessary or is where the product is used. I am proud to see that we are moving in the right direction when it comes to sharing both sides of our world - personal/professional. That being said the ad could've focussed on the emotional and physical pain women go through during this time. And the guy going forward to pick it up is a great addition shows the men understand women better now. And I'll bet xxx dollars if this ad gets released in my parts of the world. Sighhh!

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Steve Blakeman Oct 26, 2017 · #10

@kevinbaker it seems the haters have forgotten that minor detail !

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Steve Blakeman Oct 26, 2017 · #9

#8 @Neil Smith, very funny! Yes this subject has certainly caused a huge amount of controversy to the extent that I have had some haters threaten me. It seems the taboo is very well entrenched

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Neil Smith Oct 26, 2017 · #8

It's odd how this topic has caused such a fuss. Swapping blue dye for red dye hardly seems seditious or likely to undermine the foundations of western civilisation. Far more important is the issue of why, after stuffing sanitary towels down my boxers for years, I still can't skate and no-one is willing to let me have a go at sky diving. That really is a scandal.

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Kevin Baker Oct 25, 2017 · #7

#5 If women did not menstruate , none of the people complaining would be alive, oxymoron irony

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Kevin Baker Oct 25, 2017 · #6

Natural is always a better environment. What ever brings women to be proud of their humanness, as naturally born with, is healthy

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