Libesse's "Blood Normal," a campaign that put period blood front and center to help destigmatize menstruation, earned the Glass Lion for Change Grand Prix on the final night of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The category honors work that promotes positive cultural change affecting gender inequality and imbalance.
"It's a masterfully art-directed, very well thought-out, multilayer campaign that sheds light on the dark corners of period shame," said Jury President Madonna Badger, founder and chief creative officer of Badger & Winters.
"Girls and women get their periods, and yet we were squeamish and freaked out about this entry, so uncomfortable as a group talking about it," Badger said. But when the team behind the work gave its live presentation before the judges, "They reminded us of why the work is so important. So many women and young girls are ashamed of their periods and it happens at an important right of passage -- when our bodies are changing in a natural way just as the sun goes up and comes down."
The anchor of the campaign, created out of AMV BBDO, is an artful spot actually directed by a man, Daniel Wolfe,via Somesuch, Ad Age's Production Company of the Year. It's full of vignettes that take period shame head-on: a young woman and her boyfriend have sex during that time of the month, women endure painful cramps and, most significantly, there's real blood, as in bright, red blood, not the blue stuff. It appears on a pad, we see it trickling down the legs of a woman taking a shower. "Periods are normal. Showing them should be too," the spot reads at the end.
"Without holding back they showed period blood on a pad instead of blue water, a construct advertising created," Badger said. "Blood is no problem in other areas of culture, in movies and TV shows."
The integrated campaign also included elements such as "period underwear" created by French lingerie company Dessu, pad-shaped pool floats, a short film competition and even stand-up comedy performed by 12-year-old talent Saffron Herndon.
According to juror Rafael Rizuto, chief creative officer and co-founder of TBD in San Francisco, one of three men on the 10-person jury, the judges had that work pegged as the Grand Prix from very early on. "Of all the judging I've ever been part of, that was the first time the jury decided the Grand Prix first," he said. "It was unanimous. A brand invested a lot of money into being brave. The message we wanted to give is that this should be done all over the world, not just in the U.K."