A series of campaigns for Bodyform/Libresse tackling taboos around women’s periods and intimate hygiene has won the Grand Prix in the 2019 APG Creative Strategy Awards.

The feminine care brand set up its Live Fearless platform back in 2013 but it wasn’t until 2016 that it hit its current stride, with the ground-breaking RedFit campaign that, for the first time, featured sportswomen bleeding and asserting that ‘No blood should hold us back’.

Bloodnormal in 2017 continued the process of confronting feelings of disgust and shame around periods and presenting these in a positive light. More recently, Viva la Vulva addressed the embarrassment many women feel about that part of their anatomy.

These campaigns have revolutionised the category and overturned media bans along the way. But, the winning paper notes, “the biggest difficulty and risk with these campaigns was getting them out in the world”.

Using mainstream media to make periods normal was a bold step in a category that had relied on either clinical approaches (blue liquids to demonstrate absorbency) or unlikely metaphorical ones (women dancing in white jeans).

But broadcast media owners were reluctant to get on board, arguing that the scenes depicted – underwear, kissing, showering, blood on a pad – were indecent. And the battles were repeated with online platforms.

“We fought for months to get online platforms to air Bloodnormal, arguing against the double standards (nudity, sexualisation...), scene by scene, frame by frame,” the paper adds. Same again for Viva la Vulva.

“Between blurry ‘decency’ regulations and media owners trying to ‘sanitise’ their platforms, it was a real catch 22.” But “when your category is about women's intimate area, how can you embrace your responsibility to challenge harmful taboos if you’re not allowed to?”

Women loved the campaigns and the brand gained a disproportionate share of voice while overturning broadcasting bans in several countries. And the taboo-breaking nature of the campaigns has also unlocked a new sense of positivity within Essity, the brand owner.

Sourced from APG