Who said feminine hygiene wasn’t marketable? Well, timing is everything. And while successful viral marketing campaigns usually occur once in every thousand attempts, this is one that can truly be called the “time of the month.”
While most men hide from the truth, one man had the valor to face his fears and look for the truth. On October 8th of this year, Richard Neill wrote to British feminine hygiene manufacturer, Bodyform, via Facebook, expressing his disappointment and misperceptions of a woman’s “time of the month.” Here’s his comment, reflecting the disillusionment as he realized after all these years that Bodyform’s advertisements made light of the reality of a female’s period.
Hi, as a man I must ask why you have lied to us for all these years . As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things, I felt a little jealous. I mean bike riding , rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn’t I get to enjoy this time of joy and ‘blue water’ and wings !! Dam my penis!! Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn’t wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen …..you lied !! There was no joy, no extreme sports , no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving, gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform, you crafty bugger
After Richard’s post went viral, getting nearly 102,000 likes and generating 4,688 comments, Bodyform responded. They released a video response, informing Richard and his male compatriots who have also felt misguided all these years by Bodyform’s positive spin on a female’s time of the month. They did so by sharing on their Facebook “We are always grateful for input from our users, but his comment was particularly poignant. If Facebook had a ‘love’ button, we’d have clicked it. But it doesn’t. So we’ve made Richard a video instead.”
And the response was tremendous; it consisted of a confession by fictional CEO Caroline Williams delivering a faux apology to Richard and all men who felt duped by the “blue water swimming, rock climbing, parachuting, and beaming women” as well as the various positive euphemisms for menstruation portrayed by feminine hygiene advertisers. However it may not have put Richard and friends at ease. Instead it continued to expose myths men would particularly prefer to ignore. Hilariously, the Caroline reminds us that women also do fart.
Of course the video is entirely fake, provide a self-mocking tone from a confessional CEO, albeit fictional CEO. But it’s the tone and humor of the video, combined with its timeliness that makes the video so intriguing, and is the reason it’s garnered over 3.5 million views. It’s provides its own entertainment, as the general public is all too aware of the positive spin used in tampon ads that go to support the illusion of happy times surrounding women’s menstruation. Bodyform comes straight out confessing their role in disguising this time, all for it to be exposed by Richard’s one comment. “You Richard, have torn down that veil and exposed that myth, thereby exposing every man to a reality we hoped they would never have to face” states Williams.
Apart from the humorous, satirical and sardonic tone of Williams and the position of Bodyform, the company utilizes a few reinforcements to convey the humor behind the message. My favorite, is when upon the end of the apology, Williams shatters the myth surrounding whether women pass gas or not. Additionally, they play on tons of stereotypes surrounding the industry, and make a mockery of the blue liquid that has become a staple in feminine hygiene commercials as a blood substitute. This comes when Williams takes a moment to rehydrate herself and drinks the very clearly dyed liquid. Also they updated their own cover photo, with images debunking the enjoyment of biking, parachuting and running women during their time of the month.
As a result, it’s apparent that you don’t need a naturally appealing product to go viral. In fact, I think few people would say that feminine products are appealing at all. But by employing certain tactics and thinking outside of the box you can make anything successful.
You can find similar examples all across the web. As it would appear the trick is surrounded by timeliness!
CJ Pony Parts, a mustang car parts seller, managed to utilize the social conversation surrounding the death of Carroll Shelby, the creator of the original Mustang, to create content interesting to their viewers. By acting quickly after his Shelby’s death, CJ Pony Parts managed to build discussion from Auto enthusiasts all across the web regarding their brand, and their content. Here’s the interactive infographic they created highlighting Carroll Shelby’s accomplishments.