Bodyform shows a masterclass in social

Bodyform’s now viral video is a masterclass in using social media to create great marketing that no brand could plan, if we accept that the original post on Bodyform’s Facebook page by Richard Neill was genuine, and not planted. It should also act as a wake up call to marketers working on other brands in the category.

The tongue in cheek video response to a comment left on Facebook by a man decrying its adverts for creating a false image of the joy and adventurous times women experienced during their period has given the brand more exposure and positive sentiment than it could have gained through a traditionally planned campaign.

It’s always reassuring to see a brand that can poke a little fun at itself and its own advertising. I particularly like the underhand nod it gives to the insipid brand positioning of rival Always, the P&G-owned brand which repositioned around the idea that women should “have a happy period” a few years ago.

Bodyform is stepping out of the patronising tone of voice usually adopted by feminine care brands and the approach in the online ad resonates with consumers. It would be brave and smart for brand owner SCA to see the opportunity and possibilities created by this viral campaign to influence the rest of its marketing rather than seeing it as one off.

It’s high time the entire feminine hygiene market took a long hard look at itself and asks what it really needs to be saying to women.

Most prominent ad campaigns for sanitary products are cringeworthy and patronising to the Nth degree. Tampax’s ‘Mother Nature’ ads for its Pearl product are hideous, while Always’ efforts to encourage women to “have a happy period” made me, and most of my contemporaries want to smash things.

Do women in the 21st century really need a brand to tell them it’s OK to skydive at that time of the month? Or that we can wear white trousers and hang out with boys despite the “monthly gift”? Not really, thanks all the same Tampax.

Within the category, the only really interesting and different marketing approach I can think of in recent years has come from Tesco. When it launched its Halo venture brand, it also created a not for profit organisation that donates money from sales to women’s health charities.

Not patronising, not sanctimonious, just a smart CRM move that means women can buy the products they need and get on with their busy lives with the added beneift of supporting a worthy cause.

Bodyform shows it’s OK to skydive, go on roadtrips in the desert and run along beaches in the 1990s.

Tampax adds white water rafting and photoshoots to the list of sanctioned activities.

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