FOR TOO LONG, Adverts aimed at women’s monthly periods have managed to expertly avoid the point of their product entirely. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that the first thing that pops to mind when mine arrives each month is not that I should really take up samba dancing, or horse riding, or reach for the tightest white clothes I can find. At twenty three, I’m also embarrassed to say that I’ve still not reached that stage of puberty yet where that blue water comes out instead of all the blood and uteral lining [SOON.]
Finally, comes a company not afraid to embrace the gross, uncomfortable and unfairly inevitable realities of menstruation, and turn them hilariously back on themselves. HelloFlo (the same people who brought us “Camp Gyno” in the summer of last year) have this month released their second ad: “First Moon Party”. Though only arriving to YouTube two weeks ago, the video has already had over 20 million hits, and growing.
The ad tells the story of a little girl who, in a desperate bid to catch up with her already menstruating friends, fakes her first period with red nail polish. While her two confidantes completely buy into it, her mother is less convinced – pointing out “real periods don’t have glitter”. Instead of calling out her daughter, she decides to completely embarrass her by throwing her a (you guessed it) ‘First Moon Party’. Hilarity and period puns ensue.
The company releases the advert to highlight the ‘one of a kind service’ they provide. HelloFlo produce ‘care packages’ containing tampons, pads and candy for “the good, the bad and the ugly” moments of monthly agony. Their twitter bio reads “the average woman has her period more than 350 times in her life. We handle everything but the cramps”.
Even if you ignore the product advertised, the message put across by the company is invaluable. For too long, period problems (which has affected quite a sizable chunk of our general population since, oh, the dawn of time) have been a subject of shame: covered up with euphemisms, smiling women dancing the night – and their cramps, presumably – away in clubs, and a weird emphasis on whether or not your pad has ‘wings’ (WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!).
These ads come somewhere between the on-screen ignorance of the customers you’re attempting to target, and the cold hard science leaving most preteen girls baffled and terrified (I still remember them telling us in school how much blood we’d lose monthly, measured in teaspoons. Teaspoons. All I could think – all I still think – was “who measures that?! and HOW?!”). This takes one of the most awkward and often distressing elements of growing up for young girls and makes it funny, open and – in the case of little miss moon party – desirable.
Somewhere between silence and shame, has come HelloFlo – building a bridge for young girls everywhere to enter adult life with a little bit of honesty, humour, and glittery period magic worthy of a vagician.
Words by Rachel Barr