Despite big strides in women’s openness to talking about their periods, Tampax says Americans are still remarkably clueless. It’s targeting that education gap in a new campaign with comedian Amy Schumer.
The marketing effort is based on Procter & Gamble’s research that 77% of the people it surveyed still believe tampons can get “lost” in the body, and 94% are unsure of how many days the average menstrual cycle lasts. And 62% of the women in its survey couldn’t locate a vagina on a diagram, with 41% saying they are not confident that they know the right way to put in a tampon. (Harris Poll did the research, based on a sample of 2,000 U.S. adults.)
In its announcement, P&G says it had put the effort on hold due to the pandemic, but decided the time was right to launch. “While we paused to shift focus to support more urgent needs, we decided that because periods aren’t stopping, we shouldn’t either,” says Melissa Suk, vice president of Tampax and Always in North America.
Wondering where the epidemic of ignorance comes from? P&G points out only 29 states require sex and reproductive health education, and of those, just 22 states say the content must be medically accurate.
It says it hopes the “edu-tainment” content gets people laughing even as it exposes them to basic period facts, reducing the shame many still feel about menstruation.
The campaign, with videos directed by Kathy Fusco of Hungryman, also includes plenty of content featuring Melisa Holmes, MD, an OB/GYN and co-founder of Girlology, a health education community.
Tampa is running the ads on TV, digital and social media. There’s also a custom lens in Snapchat that lets people put themselves in a Tampax tampon costume.
The effort comes at a time when many are increasingly aware of period poverty, and the reality that many women can’t afford basic feminine products. Stat reports that the period-poverty gap is worsening due to the pandemic, with nonprofits like I Support The Girls reporting a 35% increase in requests. And at No More Secrets, which distributes products nationally, requests have more than doubled.
Tampax says it donated 8 million tampons to people in need last year, working with such partners as Matthew 25 Ministries, Feeding America and Good+ Foundation.