Menstrual blood ad complaints rejected in Australia

A sanitary pad with a streak of blood-like red liquid on itImage copyright

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The adverts prompted hundreds of complaints in Australia

Adverts which were the first to depict menstrual blood on Australian television did not breach viewing standards, regulators say.

The ads were run by sanitary pad brand Libra last month and showed stained underwear and blood on a woman’s legs.

Viewers made over 600 complaints that the commercials were inappropriate – the highest number for any ads in 2019.

But Australia’s industry regulator dismissed the complaints and praised the message of what had been depicted.

Ad Standards said the campaign was seen to be “promoting equality and the de-mystification of menstruation”.

Libra’s parent company, Asaleo Care, said the adverts had tackled a taboo and feelings of shame experienced by many women and girls when having their period.

It also showed text such as: “Periods are normal. Showing them should be too”.

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Asaleo Care

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The adverts showed realistic depictions of menstrual blood

Viewers who made official complaints argued the depictions were “offensive and inappropriate” and “disgusting”.

In their response, regulators acknowledged that some viewers “would prefer not to see bodily fluids displayed on television” but said the adverts did not breach the industry’s ethics code.

They also dismissed complaints that the ads were inappropriate for prime-time slots or to be viewed by children.

“There is no negative language or imagery in the advertisement that implies that… [women] should be embarrassed about menstruation or that a woman who is menstruating is a lesser person,” they wrote in their case report.

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Asaleo Care said the adverts were based on the #BloodNormal campaign run by its UK sister company Essity in 2017.

That campaign was among the first to feature sanitary pads stained with red liquid, rather than blue, in its adverts.

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