How Brands Are Tackling Once-taboo Topics

Personal care brands are tackling the women’s health taboo.

Last month, eight women’s health brands, led by period care company August, banded together to absorb the tax placed on menstrual products. Now, Flamingo, Luna Daily and Tampax are announcing their own projects to provide education and destigmatize the conversation around women’s health.

For Luna Daily, which has grown 1,070 percent over the last 12 months, education comes in the form of a hotline and a global campaign highlighting the word vulva, created in partnership with psychosexual therapy expert Annabelle Knight. 

“The campaign was born out of this insight from our research [that] women are more embarrassed to talk to friends and family about their vulvas than they are their sex life or how much money they earn,” said the brand’s founder and chief executive officer Katy Cottam. 

Luna’s research highlighted key issues. For example, respondents couldn’t locate the vulva or were used to using nicknames, like “down there,” rather than the anatomically correct words. The free hotline, which launched on Wednesday, prompts the listener to go through four exposure therapies involving the word “vulva” — think calling out for a friend’s dog who happens to be named Vulva. As part of the global campaign, created by Joan London, the word “vulva” and the hotline number will be plastered in out-of-home advertisements at major locations like the Tate Modern in London. 

“If we normalize the word, we smash the stigma,” said Cottam. 

Similarly, Tampax has created its A Better Way to Period campaign to address gaps in education around menstrual care. According to the brand’s recent survey, 68 percent of young women say they received little or no period education before their cycle began. Tampax has tapped actress Marsai Martin, women’s college basketball national champions Angel Reese and Flau’jae Johnson, and OB-GYN Dr. Nicole Sparks to share their experiences and provide education in videos promoted across its social channels.

“We’ve learned that if no one around you talks about periods or uses tampons, chances are you won’t either,” said Balaka Niyazee, senior vice president of P&G feminine care North America, in a statement.

Meanwhile, women’s personal care brand Flamingo is launching a podcast hosted by author and creative Kimberly Drew called Unruly. During November and December, the brand will release eight episodes that cover different women’s health topics that have previously been considered hush-hush, including egg freezing, body neutrality and the effects of social media. Each week Drew will interview different experts.

The brand, which has pledged 1 percent since it launched, has donated $1.5 million to nonprofits that focus on women’s health and bodies. According to the team, this podcast is an evolution of that work.

“This was a moment where we could really bring that message a little bit more to our customers,” said head of social impact Maggie Hureau of the podcast. 

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