Breaking the stigma around periods

Decades later there’s finally a brand which shows blood in TV communications as it should be -- red. The aim is to bring forth an important and often neglected topic of “Heavy Flow” during periods

Radhika Apte RIO Campaign Ambassador
Radhika Apte RIO Campaign Ambassador


All women are familiar with TVCs and commercials for sanitary napkins which depict menstrual flow with 'blue liquid' as a way of discreetly depicting blood.

Decades later there's finally a brand which shows blood in TV communications as it should be -- red. The aim is to bring forth an important and often neglected topic of "Heavy Flow" during periods; a problem which affects almost 25 percent women in India and requires them to change their pads every 2 hours.

RIO Heavy Flow Pads by Nobel Hygiene changes the face of Indian Advertising by launching their TVC with a pan- India campaign. The first phase of the launch in February was paused after several complaints were filed with ASCI on the usage of blood shown in the commercial. However, after deliberations with ASCI and an independent review, RIO Pads have been allowed to air the advertisement with minor modifications in the second phase of the launch.

Actress Radhika Apte, brand ambassador for RIO pads features in the TVC. She reiterates, "I have said this earlier and I will say it again. I do not see the issue in showing actual blood. Blood in a fight sequence in a film is fine but not for periods? Why can't we just show what heavy flow is really like? Why can't we show blood? I am glad that RIO has taken up this challenge and they are standing by it with conviction. Getting a go-ahead on this advertisement is very reassuring. If this ad can start even a single conversation, then that is a win for all the unheard voices. If we can remove even an iota of stigma around periods via this ad and encourage people to accept it as a normal and natural phenomenon then it will be a big win for us all. Period."

Commenting on the launch, Kartik Johari, Vice-President, Nobel Hygiene, said: "We are extremely proud to take this first step on behalf of all the women in India. There can be no talk of education, awareness or equality when the biological truth of half the population is censored. Our resolve to continue this conversation has been renewed, starting with the depiction of blood. To show the unaddressed problem of Heavy Flow, without showing blood itself, is so absurd a concept, but it didn't even occur to us. All our communications are deeply inspired from our research, showing the first true and honest representation of periods for consumers. Awareness is needed, and conversations can only begin after acknowledging reality."

He further added: "We took special care to ensure our communication remained as authentic as possible. The entire creative was scripted by a woman, based on real narratives from women, directed and shot by a woman, and is being marketed by women. Additionally, 1000s of women have already applauded our product and messaging; we are proud to have brought this innovation for Indian ladies who receive no respite from Heavy Flow. We are sure that other players in the market are excited by this new paradigm, and we call upon everyone to take advantage of this exciting shift to educate and reconnect with their consumers!"

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