Thinx's First National Ad Campaign Imagines a World Where Everyone Gets Periods—Including Men
Thinx has been reinventing the conventional wheel on periods since it was founded in 2013. First, the feminine hygiene company launched period underwear, designed to be leak-resistant so you can free-bleed even on your heaviest day. Then the brand created a period sex blanket in an effort to lift the taboo surrounding sex during that time of the month. More recently, Thinx also started selling an FDA-cleared reusable tampon applicator, an eco-friendly solution for traditional plastic applicator tampons.
On top of offering alternatives to tampons and pads, Thinx has been on a mission to stop glossing over the realities that women face once a month, and break the archaic stigmas surrounding periods once and for all. In fact, earlier this year, Thinx debuted its People With Periods campaign, the first of its kind to feature a transgender man, who shed light on the often-unrecognized, yet important need for menstrual care among trans men.
Now, Thinx has launched its first national ad campaign, cheekily dubbed "MENstruation." The powerful ad imagines a world where everyone has periods—men included—and implores you to consider this question: If all people got periods, would we still be so uncomfortable talking about them? (Related: Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With Periods Right Now?)
The national ad campaign features cisgender men in different, but super common situations that women face during that time of the month. It starts with a young boy telling his dad that he got his period for the first time. Then, a man is seen lying in bed and rolling over to find a bloodstain on the sheet. Later, another man walks through a locker room with a tampon string hanging out from under his briefs.
The ad shows several of these everyday experiences, reframing them in an effort to destigmatize menstruation. (Related: I Worked Out In 'Period Shorts' and It Wasn't a Total Disaster)
Siobhan Lonergan, chief brand officer of Thinx, shared why the company took this approach with its new campaign in an interview with Adweek. "Part of our DNA is to start conversations and open up subjects we haven't been able to open up before," she told the publication. "If we all had periods, would we be more comfortable about them? And so we used certain vignettes and placed them in everyday situations really to highlight some of the challenges we all face with periods."
"I hope our audience will watch intensely, consider it in a different way and continue to open up that conversation," Lonergan added. (Related: I Tried FLEX Discs and for Once Didn't Mind Getting My Period)
Unfortunately, the above ad won't be shown in its entirety on TV. Why? Because traditional TV advertisements still don't allow the sight of blood. "It wasn't something we could really challenge," Lonergan told Adweek.
Even more frustrating: Apparently some TV networks won't air the ad unless Thinx sends them a version that doesn't show the man walking through a locker room with a tampon string hanging from his underwear, according to Ad Age. "We didn't anticipate that our ad would be censored for showing a tampon string," Maria Molland, CEO of Thinx, said in a statement, per the publication. "But given our experience with censorship of our ads, it's hard to say this was truly surprising either."
That in and of itself is exactly why it's so important to see advertisements that show the realities of periods without sugarcoating the experience. "This is a bigger idea," Lonergan told Adweek. "Hopefully we can really make change by putting this commercial out there."