Pain relief brand Midol is the latest advertiser to portray menstruation in a more authentic light, with a powerful new commercial that evokes the gritty reality of periods and the discomfort that comes with them.
The spot, the first work for the brand by MullenLowe New York, which won the account in 2021, is based on the insight that those experiencing periods are bombarded with messages of "empowerment" and "resilience." Often, however, this can add pressure to live up to an unrealistic goal of strength while also normalizing the discomfort that people have to deal with.
The ad sets out to portray the reality of periods in an authentic way, following in the footsteps of brands such as Libresse, Thinx and other advertisers that have paved the way for a more realistic depiction of menstruation. One woman finds blood in her underwear, while others are shown experiencing bloating, cramps and more, all while simultaneously dealing with work, school, sports, childcare and more. Directed by Marco Gentile at Pulse Films, it also features a diverse cast of people who menstruate, including those with different body types, ethnicities and gender expressions.
The campaign is running on TV in the U.S. in 15- and 30-second versions. The TV ad is part of an integrated campaign that also includes social media, a PR-led social experiment with real people, work with digital influencers and retail partnerships. It follows up on the Bayer-owned brand's previous campaign, "No Apologies," which encouraged people to stop saying sorry about their periods.
"Comfort is Power" takes this to the next level, calling on those who menstruate to treat their symptoms and be true to their needs—not simply muscle through," said Kelly Fanning, general manager/VP of marketing, U.S. pain cardio at Bayer, in a statement. "It is an evolution of our brand purpose and aims to continue to help shift Midol's perception from just a pain reliever to a brand that understands and normalizes menstrual symptoms.”
“There are moments when the most powerful thing we can do is be vulnerable—to not care about anything or anybody else but yourself in the moments you need it," added Suzanne Barbosa, group account director at MullenLowe New York. "That’s what this campaign is about: getting relief from menstrual symptoms makes us powerful, not weak. That’s the power of comfort,”
Ricard Valero, executive creative director at the agency, also said that Midol wanted to portray the reality of periods in a way that felt "real, honest and relatable ... It’s a very positive message that will resonate with the audience only if we speak to them in a very sincere way. This film needed to be truthful.”