Sometimes it’s difficult for women to speak openly about their menstrual cycles -- just think about all of the hilarious euphemisms for periods that are out there. Now Kotex is trying to make women more comfortable discussing their periods openly in China, AdAge reported. And they’re using social media to do it.
The feminine hygiene brand is sponsoring a five-episode video series titled “Stuff Girls Don’t Say,” aimed at young women in their teens and 20s. Sina Weibo, a microblogging website which has 300 million Chinese users, acts as a host for these videos. They all feature the fictional female character An Xiaoqi, a young woman living in Shanghai. The character existed prior to Kotex’s involvement, and already had about 150,000 fans on Sina Weibo, according to a press release. “[We wanted to be] able to build personal relationships with our target audience in a way that wasn't "advertising' or selling, but more da jiejie [female mentor] in style," Bill Li, Asia Pacific senior e-marketing manager at Kimberly-Clark, the corporation behind Kotex, told Ad Age.
The lighthearted videos feature Xiaoqi and friends in situations where they probably would want reliable feminine hygiene product -- such as in the middle of a lunch date or during a busy day at the office. Two of them star Xiaoqi as talk-show host nicknamed “Da Qi Ma,” a play on the slang term “Da Yi Ma,” a popular Chinese period euphemism, reported AdAge. Xiaoqi doles out advice to young women, letting them know that white clothing is OK to wear while you have your period -- just don’t forget to use a little protection. The videos also focus exclusively on sanitary pads, as tampons are less common in China.
Kotex apparently hopes that these videos will get women talking more openly about their periods, and eventually the brand. According to a press release:
The Weibo-driven campaign was designed to raise awareness about the Kotex brand, educate women about personal care issues and eliminate the stigma surrounding the subject of menstruation.
The menstruation taboo is hardly specific to China. Always became the first company to run a feminine hygiene ad using the color red to depict the blood that ends up on menstrual products (just one red dot). And in May, VICE contributor and photographer Emma Arvida Bystrom shot a series of photos titled “There Will Be Blood,” depicting women bleeding through their clothing. The photos generated a discussion about the “shock value” of menstrual blood, and revealed the discomfort still associated with the subject. It remains to be seen what An Xiaoqi’s contribution to that dialogue will be in China.
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