Hey, you got your periods? I am recently done with those 5 devil days, those cramps, they almost killed me. But fortunately, I am alive, and here, to talk about chilasm! I am writing something dirty guys. Oh ho, sorry if I haven’t noticed that you are a man and you, yes you, reading about periods.
Image Source: ActionAid / Via actionaid.org.uk
But you know what, I don’t care because facts are facts.
Well, periods are those five moron days, that exhaust (of course a woman) like hell. Apart from pain, fatigue, mood swings, guess what, a woman also faces scary taboos. And the funniest part remains is, while menstruating, the females are considered as impure and hence they cannot touch anything pure, such as pickle. But tell me, can these 5 moron days stop the rigid lady from climbing higher mountains, or will it stop the active diva from playing for their nation, ah even can it stop a businesswoman from presenting an important financial decision to her organisation, or will it impact the kathakali moves?
Now, I am sure, half of you already know that I am talking about Whisper. Yes, the PnG baby that never fails to give a shout out for the courage a lady usually carries during those days of periods. This brand caters exactly opposite to what the name signifies, it never whispers about periods, it always comes up with a powerful message for the society to treat periods as a natural process, not like an imposed curse, which was earlier established by superstitious forefathers.
Before I move forward, do you know how these Sanitary pads evolved?
You will be astonished to know that the sanitary pads were designed for men, especially the soldiers to control the bleeding during the battlefield. It was put together using the pulp absorbents.
Later on, the design was borrowed by commercial manufacturing and was known as the Southall pad. Way things turned out, Johnson & Johnson launched their own product and named it Lister. They tweaked this product a little and renamed it Nupak.
A snag again, the market held social inhibition strongly, women were not so up to use them. Slowly and gradually the awareness built around and but again a plot twist. These pads were expensive enough, hence the ordinary women were unable to buy them.
Fortunately, along with many other things, the World war also brought reform in women's period. The sanitary pads then became a common thing and were available at a reasonable price.
And how the sanitary pad landed in India? Have you seen Padman yet?
Padman, a biopic on a social entrepreneur, Arunachalam Murugantham who invented the cotton sanitary pads, bearing in mind his wife's struggle of using the old and unsafe clothes during her periods. He faced a lot of hatred and criticism, but he made it.
Don't you think our society is a little off?
On the one hand, people really avoid talking about periods but on the other hand, these same people embrace the periodic cycle of the Goddess as a matter of spirituality.
I am talking about the famous bleeding Goddess, Kamakhya Devi. Sati was pierced in pieces(Shakti peeth) by the ‘Sudarshan Chakra’ of Lord Bishnu. The vagina(I should not have said that, but this is the goddess's vagina, fold your hands and take blessings) of Sati fell in Assam, giving rise to the Kamakhya Temple.
Since the vagina of Sati fell to give rise to the Kamakhya temple, it is believed that the Goddess suffers her periods for three days in the month of June as a result of which the doors of the temple remain closed. Thus Ambubachi Mela signifies that for 3 days the ambiance is not pure.
Inside the closed temple, the yoni of Goddess is covered with a red cloth. At the end of the festival, when it is removed, the cloth is wet. And the worshippers take the red cloth as Prasad.
Can you relate? I can't!
When a goddess bleeds, her stained cloth is spiritual but an ordinary girl when bleeds, she is impure.
Coming back to Whisper now.
I have an adoration for those brands that never stick to one central path of awareness. Whisper has always broken the stereotype. Let’s talk about one of my favorite ads that created a wave. It has not only increased the respective sales but also has educated a lot of customers. So, logically this brand is serving its purpose.
The problem with our society is the rule-makers observe things privately and criticize it publicly. Whether it’s an advertisement for condoms or sanitary pads, if you are watching it with your family, boom shika shika, the channel will be immediately changed to either a news channel or a bhajan song. You too can relate, right?
But ever imagined, why such so-called embarrassing things are telecasted or printed? It’s because your family can’t talk about these and hence the brands become shameless enough to do so. The family can’t educate you about periods, but you will learn it from the media. They think the reproduction chapter is sufficient enough to make you understand about periods or even sex!
One of the spokespersons of P&G said. “We believe that the social context of our consumers inspires creative thinking and creative communication impacts society. As marketers, we can impact and shape social fabric by an in-depth understanding of her social context and how our brands can help her achieve what she wants. If we demonstrate that we understand her and provide solutions that make a difference to her daily life, she will trust us. It is important to build trust and that is the only way to build brands."
Let’s look at certain ads of Whisper that created waves
So, what can you see? A bottle of pickle and the Sanitary pad, yes? But here is what I can see
It was a movement of breaking irrelevant period taboos. The brand truly understood that the majority of Indian women feel uneasy during their periods and this unease is created by our society itself. When a woman menstruates she is not allowed to worship God, not allowed to enter the kitchen, not allowed to eat whatever they want, not allowed to touch flowers, I can go beyond this but here is the best one, menstrual blood is believed to be dangerous, and a malevolent person can harm a menstruating woman or girl by using black magic (“wisi”). Hahaha, can you beat that?
Let’s look at this ad, I have been talking for a long time.
Did you see that right?
The TVC ad has not chosen any actress or influencer, rather they chose a normal girl who is nearly 15-16 years old. Marketers need to delve more on what are the key brand messages and how best it can be communicated, with or without a celebrity. The ad has a female teenager, who touches the jar intentionally while the grandmother smiles on. Have you noticed that plenty of old aged women were surrounded by her just stating, “she touched the pickle”! Now, why is that? This is because they have spent all of their life living with the period taboos and now, they really don’t want the same for the future generation. So basically, there were two taboos that whisper broke, one is, of course, we can touch pickles while we or on periods, and another one is hidden. And here I go, we all have experienced that it’s our Grandma who keeps complaining about our wardrobe, lifestyle, friends, alpha, beta, and a long list (applicable only if you are a girl)? But here the grandma was happy for the fact that she broke taboo, neither the bunch of old aged women gossiped about her short white skirt, in fact, they all cheered to the teen girl’s victory.
What can be more empowering than this? A woman supporting another woman.
Are you too curious enough to know what was the impact of this ad?
Women across India overwhelmingly responded to the campaign with their own stories of breaking taboos. The ad video has already more than 1.8 million views. The ad made the viewers land to the Facebook page ‘You go girl India’ where they can join the #TouchThePickle movement. Thousands of women participated in sharing their personal tales of how they have broken the taboo. The movement became unstoppable resulting in the consumers rewarding P&G by choosing Whisper. Not only this, due to the ad, P&G won the Bronze Lion Award at the Cannes International Advertising Festival.
Takeaways: The brand here conveyed a message that they are home for superior quality sanitary protection. The pad is strong enough to hold the strong blood flow for more than 8 hours considering the strong ladies out there so that nothing can make them tune to a pause, in their assignment of success. You go girl.
’Good alone, better together’