Advertising, Opinion

“Degrading” and “confronting”: Ad Standards dismisses 600 complaints about Libra’s #BloodNormal ads

Georgina Dent /

“I am absolutely appalled that Libra has chosen when I was to talk to my seven-year-old little girl about periods.”

“The images portrayed in the ad are disgusting and demeaning to women.”

“Showing girls bleeding is wrong at any time of the day.”

These were among the 600-plus complaints Ad Standards fielded in response to the TV advertisements Libra broadcast as part of its #BloodNormal campaign, making it the most complained about advertisement this year. (The next closest contender is a trailer for a horror film that attracted 200 complaints.)

“Offensive”, “degrading”, “appalling”, “confronting” and “explicit” were used most commonly in the complaints about the advertisement.

Concern for children and teenage boys viewing the ad was raised often. Many parents expressed disapproval that the ads were broadcast at 7pm when children were likely watching.

The response illustrates and reinforces why the destigmatisation of menstruation — the purpose of the advertisements — matters.

The Ad Standards panel found the ads, in which women go about their everyday lives with their period, and feature shots of a woman showering with blood running down her leg, a pad demonstration using red liquid, and a woman removing a pad, did not breach the Code of Ethics.

Ad Standards dismissed the claims the advertisements ‘vilified’ women by publicising a private matter or humiliated them by depicting them having their period.

The panel noted the advertisement was part of an advertising campaign designed to normalise menstruation, and remove any stigma of shame or embarrassment.

Mumbrella reports that Libra has defended its objective: “The TVC is encouraging women, men, boys and girls (with guidance from their parents) to imagine a world where women and girls don’t have to hide anymore, where there is no shame attached to changing your pad in a toilet, asking for a pad at a dinner party or carrying your pad without hiding it.”

This article was first published by Women’s Agenda.

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Georgina Dent

Georgina Dent is a journalist, an editor, and a passionate advocate for gender equality. The former lawyer is a regular media commentator, public speaker, MC and is the contributing editor of Women's Agenda.