United Way BC tackles period poverty

Who: United Way BC, with Here Be Monsters, Post Pro Media for video production.

What: “Period Promise,” a campaign positioning access to menstrual products as a human right, and raising awareness of the consequences for those facing “period poverty.”

When & Where: The campaign launched for Menstrual Health Day in Canada (May 28), with some paid media support in digital and social, but with a big emphasis on PR and earned media.

Why: The campaign coincides with the launch of a new United Way task force, backed by the B.C. government, tasked with ending “period poverty” in the province. The inability to afford menstrual products can adversely affect people in many different ways. According to United Way BC, half of all people who menstruate have struggled to buy products for themselves, and one-quarter have gone through a period without any menstrual products.

“Nobody should have to choose between attending class or staying home,” said Patrick Brophy, provincial director, marketing and communications at United Way BC, in a release. “Just the same as no one should have to choose between buying food and buying a box of tampons. But there are still many people in our communities that make these choices every day.”

How: The campaign idea from Here Be Monsters was to play with typical menstrual product advertising by adding unexpected product benefit stickers, like “Job-saving,” “Essential for education,” and “Improves mental health.” There are video ads and digital display, and the product claim stickers were also added to real menstrual products and sent to elected officials and reporters.

“The marketing language of menstrual products was interesting to us,” said Matt Bielby, creative director at Here Be Monsters. “We saw an opportunity to make bold new claims about tampons, pads and cups. They’re not just ultra-thin or comfortable, they also save jobs, keep students in school and help with mental health.”

David Brown