Can­did Mar­ket­ing

Fem­i­nine hy­giene brand Sofy dis­cards eu­phemism and sub­tlety, opt­ing for ‘real words’.

The Brand Reporter - - EDITORIAL - By Sh­weta Mulki sh­

The fem­i­nine hy­giene brand dis­cards sub­tlety.

The fem­i­nine hy­giene nar­ra­tive, specif­i­cally the ad lingo re­lated to men­stru­a­tion, has come a long way; slowly mak­ing an adamant tran­si­tion from pre­dictable visual im­agery with mo­tifs like the ‘blue liq­uid’ and ‘white cloth­ing’, to com­mu­ni­ca­tion that is more frank, open and ‘un­em­bar­rassed’.

And, rid­ing this wave of ‘frank­ness in fem­i­nine hy­giene’ is Sofy Tampons which un­der its fresh cam­paign #Em­braceTheNew - claims to have launched In­dia’s first com­mer­cial cam­paign for tampons. Start­ing with two dig­i­tal films, the brand uses the ‘in­form and ed­u­cate’ treat­ment to tackle fears and myths around the prod­uct and does so by em­brac­ing words like ‘vagina’ and ‘vir­gin­ity’.

Tampons sales aren’t as high as those of san­i­tary pads in In­dia, but the last cou­ple of years have seen tam­pon brands move be­yond phar­ma­cies and trickle into su­per­mar­kets and gen­eral stores in ur­ban In­dia. Sofy, a brand owned by Ja­panese FMCG ma­jor Unicharm (also the mak­ers of MamyPoko Pants di­a­pers), en­tered In­dia in 2012 with their san­i­tary nap­kin range.

On the tim­ing of this new cam­paign, Hiroki Nada, brand man­ager at Unicharm, says that while tampons have been on the shelf for some time, no brand has taken the re­spon­si­bil­ity to ed­u­cate the young In­dian girl about the bar­ri­ers and myths sur­round­ing their us­age.

“Search volumes have been ris­ing and the cat­e­gory is also grow­ing; hence, we spot­ted this op­por­tu­nity as a huge po­ten­tial in the mar­ket and have taken the onus to share in­for­ma­tion that ed­u­cates girls and solves their prob­lem in a fun and for­ward think­ing way,” ex­plains Nada.

How did the cre­ative team in­ter­pret this? Bindu Sethi, chief strat­egy of­fi­cer, JWT, Delhi, says, “In In­dia tampons are in­vis­i­ble - on the shelves or in­side a women’s mind. As an all-women team across plan­ning, ser­vic­ing and cre­ative, all we had to do was mir­ror our own ex­pe­ri­ences of us­ing or not us­ing a tam­pon. While work­ing on the brief, we had our own ‘Tam­pon Ini­ti­a­tion Mo­ment’. Within the team there were two camps - one root­ing for it and the other re­sist­ing it, much like the Tampons ‘all you need to know’ film.”

The cat­e­gory, glob­ally, over the years, has kicked taboos and ‘chased change’ in its com­mu­ni­ca­tion. From a Tam­pax ad fea­tur­ing Friends star Court­ney Cox and ads with chirpy pirou­et­ting women in the ‘80s, to the vi­ral videos by Hello Flo’s ‘Camp Gyno’, and UbyKo­tex a few years ago, and Body­form’s ‘bloody tam­pon’

The cat­e­gory, glob­ally, over the years, has kicked taboos and ‘chased change’ in its com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

“As an all-women team across plan­ning, ser­vic­ing and cre­ative, all we had to do was mir­ror our own ex­pe­ri­ences.”


work in 2016, tam­pon ads have tran­si­tioned from ‘sub­tle and cheery’ to ‘frank and funny’.

How about the In­dian mar­ket? Sam­bit Mo­hanty, na­tional cre­ative di­rec­tor, JWT, Delhi, says that the all­girls team work­ing on the cam­paign felt that the chal­lenge was to put the con­sumer at ease about a topic they’d oth­er­wise be closed to. “I think they tack­led this clev­erly by plac­ing a prod­uct demon­stra­tion in a can­did set­ting,” he adds.

Su­mi­tra Sengupta, ex­ec­u­tive cre­ative di­rec­tor and vice pres­i­dent, JWT, Delhi, says, “For the first time, we set out to ed­u­cate, dis­solve myths around tampons and launch the prod­uct too. In­stead of be­ing over­whelmed by the task, we de­cided to spark off a con­ver­sa­tion that girls were dy­ing to have. Their unasked ques­tions sud­denly had an­swers.”

Sengupta ex­plains that the first film busts ev­ery myth a girl has about tampons and that ‘it does that in a can­did way - pretty much like a locker room con­ver­sa­tion be­tween girls.’ “This is im­por­tant, be­cause for some­one to adopt a per­sonal hy­giene prod­uct like tampons, she needs a per­sonal rec­om­men­da­tion,” she adds.

On the sec­ond film, the team ex­plains that “it is about that one girl we all know, who sits by the pool­side and can’t have fun be­cause she is un­aware of the power of tampons. And once she be­comes aware, she re­alises that there’s no stop­ping her.”

Com­ment­ing on the copy-toex­e­cu­tion process, Sengupta says, “Be­fore crack­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion, the team asked them­selves - ‘What is the sin­gle most im­por­tant thing that tampons do? Sim­ple, it lets you get into wa­ter while on your pe­riod! Once we iden­ti­fied that, ev­ery­thing was sim­ple.”


Narayan De­vanathan, group ex­ec­u­tive and strat­egy of­fi­cer, Dentsu Brand Agen­cies, says, “Some­body had to start some­where; Sofy is that some­body and this is their cho­sen start­ing point. And per­haps that’s all that mat­ters. Some­one may have a prob­lem with the tam­pon-in-beaker as the demo de­vice. Oth­ers may have an is­sue with the idea that women even have fun on their minds dur­ing their pe­ri­ods. Sofy will learn and sharpen their mes­sage and make it more in­ter­est­ing as time goes by.”

He also adds, “Like its par­ent com­pany Unicharm did in an­other cat­e­gory with Mamy Poko Pants pant-style di­a­pers - and its soft­est crit­ics will ac­cuse that brand of be­ing for­mu­laic - Sofy will prob­a­bly cre­ate and win this cat­e­gory be­fore the com­pe­ti­tion wakes up and de­cides it’s worth play­ing catch up.”

Kainaz Kar­markar, chief cre­ative of­fi­cer (west) at Ogilvy & Mather, feels that the video de­liv­ers on its ti­tle, which reads - ‘Ev­ery­thing you need to know about us­ing tampons.’ “You can­not fault this com­mu­ni­ca­tion on clar­ity. They have not been shy about call­ing out body parts and ex­plain­ing un­abashedly how and why a tam­pon works.” ■

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