Best of 2017 TV/Film--No. 2: Period Blood Takes Center Stage in Boundary-Breaking Ad by Libresse

Latest Spot by the Brand to Challenge the Stigma Around Periods

By Alexandra Jardine. Published on Oct 17, 2017

Editor's Pick

Through New Year's, we'll be counting down the best work of the year in TV/Film/Branded Content, Print/Outdoor/Design and Interactive/Integrated (IX) as our picks of the day.

At No. 2 in the year's best of TV/Film advertising, sanitary product brand Libresse, along with AMV/BBDO enthusiastically broke traditional taboos in this artful film directed by Daniel Wolfe. In it, we see scenes of young women clutching themselves in pain from cramps, others having sex on their cycle and, perhaps most notably, plenty of blood--blood running down a leg in the shower and even realistic red liquid on a pad. The ad, we hope, has served to change the conversation around the category even more than ever before, in a year when women's voices have come powerfully to the fore.

Original Story:

The taboos around advertising for sanitary products are gradually being broken down, but there's still a long way to go. This year has seen retailers and brands around the world protest the tax on pads and tampons, while last year Essity-owned brand Bodyform ran an ad that used showed actual blood, although not of the menstrual kind, followed by a spot that showed a sanitary pad in underwear for the first time.

Now, the same brand (known as Libresse in Scandinavian markets) has gone further, with an even more graphic depiction. A new online ad, by AMV BBDO, not only shows realistic blood being poured onto a sanitary pad (as opposed to the dreaded blue liquid); we also see blood running down a girl's leg in the shower.

The spot also contains other vignettes aimed at emphasizing the normality of periods. There's an out-of-office auto-reply that says someone's not coming into the office, as she has a very heavy period; there's a boy passing a pad to a girl in class; a man buying sanitary towels. We see women with period pain, and women just going about their normal activities. The film ends by showing a girl going to the bathroom and removing a pad from her underwear. At this point, the screen pixelates as we are told that, according to "assorted TV broadcast authorities worldwide" in 2017, "the sight of period blood is unacceptable." The ad ends with the message: "Periods are normal. Showing them should be too."

Daniel Wolfe at Somesuch was the director and cinematography is by Monika Lenczewska. The film is running online and on social media in Scandinavia as the long-form version seen here, and in the U.K. as a 20-second edit.

According to Wolfe, in the weeks before the shoot, articles on periods that had run in the mainstream press, as well as the social conversation around them helped inform the production. "Can't wait for the day when women no longer pass tampons to a friend like they are a Class A drug" was one comment that proved especially inspiring, he explains in a statement. "We wanted to create something that provided a platform for discussion rather than trying to tell people what to think," he adds. "And we hopefully made a film which isn't defined by the gender of its director--a film which both women and men will take something from, hopefully helping instill the idea of a new normal."

The campaign also includes other activations to promote positive period images. These include a graphic story by illustrator Victo Ngai, "period underwear" by French lingerie company Dessu, menstruation jokes by twelve-year-old stand-up comedian Saffron Herndon and a range of pad-shaped inflatable mattresses.

Libresse and Bodyform will also be funding the creation of three new short films openly referencing periods in order to continue the normalization of periods in global culture. These will be made by aspiring film talent, working with production company Flare Studio, which will offer a grant to the filmmakers.

Rate this Ad

You must be registered to rate this ad.
Please Login or Register Now


Oct 17, 2017
Global Brand Communications Manager:
Martina Poulopati
Marketing & Comms Director:
Tanja Grubner
Creative Director:
Abbott Mead Vickers
Executive Creative Director:
Alex Grieve
Executive Creative Director:
Adrian Rossi
Creative Director:
Toby Allen
Creative Director:
Jim Hilson
Nicholas Hulley
Art Director:
Nadja Lossgott
Agency Planner:
Bridget Angear
Agency Planner:
Rebecca Fleming
Agency Planner:
Margaux Revol
Agency Account Management:
Sarah Douglas
Agency Account Management:
Tamara Klemich
Agency Account Management:
Sara Abaza
Agency Account Management:
Sarah Hore-Lacy
TV Producer:
Edwina Dennison
Art Production:
Kirstie Johnstone
Project Manager:
Leonie Chaudhry
Global PR:
Head of Social & Emerging Platforms:
Candice Juniper
Media Agency:
Zenith Media
Media Planner:
Alanna Bishop
Media Planner:
Eloi Casali
Media Planner:
Ekaterina Syromolotova
Media Planner:
Linda Tan
Production Company:
Daniel Wolfe
Lou Hake
Sally Llewellyn
Tim Nash
Director of Photography:
Monika Lenczewska
Tom Lindsay
Trim Editing
Post Production Company:
The Mill
Post Production Company:
Audio Post Production:
Sam Ashwell
Audio Post Production:
Music Supervision:
Felt Music
Digital Design Company:
Poke London
Digital Design:
Karen Morris
Digital Design:
Sef Kwawukume
Digital Design:
Andreea Nastase

Need a credit fix? Contact the Creativity Editors


The Creativity Newsletter

The Creativity newsletter is editorially curated to spotlight the work that’s hitting the mark—or missing it altogether. Sign up to have it sent to your inbox.