“It’s the twenty-first century”: Modibodi slams Facebook for decision to ban realistic ad for period products


A still from the offending Modibodi ad. Source: supplied.

Aussie period underwear brand Modibodi has had its latest ad banned from Facebook, with the social media behemoth saying it violates its guidelines regarding “shocking, sensational, inflammatory or excessively violent content”.

According to a statement from Modibodi, the ‘The New Way to Period’ campaign is intended to normalise the reality of menstruation, using the colour red to represent blood more accurately.

After three reviews from Facebook’s policy team, the 60-second film was banned, the statement says. In order to be reinstated on the platform, three key scenes that show menstrual blood would have to be removed.

The ad was also reportedly banned from YouTube, before the decision was reversed. The ad is also currently running on TV.

“It’s the twenty-first century and it’s disappointing Facebook doesn’t want to normalise the conversation around menstruation,” Modibodi founder and chief Kristy Chong said in a statement.

Modidbodi has always used the colour red to depict menstrual blood, she added.

“Our aim for this film was to open people’s minds by taking the stigma out of what is a perfectly natural bodily function for women. It was not made to be deliberately sensational or provocative, but to show the very real and natural side of periods,” she added.

Facebook’s advertising policy states ads “must not contain shocking, sensational, inflammatory or excessively violent content”.

Examples it provides of such content include ads depicting ongoing medical procedures, details of torture or suffering, and “pimple popping”.

Speaking to media and marketing publication Mumbrella, Naomi Shepherd, Facebook’s director for Australia and New Zealand, said Facebook’s advertising policies have “a higher set of standards” than what’s allowed in unpaid posts.

“Our advertising policies are more restrictive because they take paid distribution to appear in people’s personal news feeds, and clearly state that ads must not contain text or images that may shock or that focuses on someone’s personal attributes, including their physical or mental health condition.”

The ad remains on Facebook as organic content, posted by Modibodi.

Launched in 2014, Modibodi grew into a $3 million business in just three years. But, this isn’t the first time it’s faced backlash or complaints.

Chong has received complaints about the brand’s pop-up shops, with shoppers demanding the team cover up a ‘leak-proof undies’ sign, she said.

Her ads have also been pulled from the radio after listeners complained they weren’t appropriate for mainstream media.

“From the very beginning, I was repeatedly told we’d need super glamorous models to make supposed unmentionable topics — menstruation and incontinence — tolerable to Australian women and the media,” Chong explained.

“I refused to believe this was the only way we could have a presence in the market and from day one we’ve sourced customers or everyday women from diverse backgrounds to help model and sell our products.”

NOW READ: “There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma”: Indian food delivery giant Zomato introduces paid period leave

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