Rule Breaking Series #4: Disrupting the period industry


By leading a movement to call a period what it is - Period - innovators have disrupted the period industry. In the process, they have removed the taboo that has surrounded periods for generations. This social movement calls upon teenage girls and women to shed the secrecy and celebrate their womanhood.

The movement continues

It worked for Dove generations before when they started putting real women in their advertising, calling out the industry for putting unrealistic body expectations on young women that were impossible to live up to. This campaign freed women to feel good about their bodies as they are and challenged the unrealistic standards in female body image set for so long by the fashion industry. It removed the masks applied by airbrushed photo editing and finally got real.


Now the likes of Australian brand ModiBodi are revolutionising the entire period industry, shifting society’s perceptions of periods with their campaigns. Sanitary product giant Kimberly-Clark’s Kotex, which has partnered with Thinx Inc, has joined the collective mission to break the taboo on periods through their campaigns, freeing real women to talk about their periods as if they do actually exist – because guess what? They do!


Can we talk?

The companies have launched their own brands of innovative absorbable, leak-proof period panties as a long-awaited replacement for tampons and pads. But more than that, they’ve disrupted the period industry, not so much with product improvements (though welcome after years of stagnation) but by challenging societal norms and hang-ups by starting real conversations. Their campaigns, just like Dove’s before them, feature real users talking openly, creating a movement that has broken down the taboos, removed too long-held social stigma and opened the discussion for all women to be able to talk about themselves openly in every aspect of their body.


A category reinvented

Supermarkets like Woolworths in Australia have got in on the movement, championing real women to be real women. They have literally reinvented the category by eschewing the label “Feminine hygiene”, which implies women are dirty by nature (how long did we put up with that?) for the more perfunctory Period Care. Other period product manufacturers like Bodyform, with its Blood Normal campaign, are doing the same through their naming conventions, innovative packaging ideas and campaigns aimed at changing the social stigma attached to menstruation. Personal care brands like Billie Razors unabashedly focus on female autonomy, bodily acceptance and celebrating the period. Such companies are changing the category image from embarrassing to empowering.


Collectively, they are disrupting the period industry, and it’s a refreshing change that has liberated a whole generation of women to be open about their period and wear it as a badge of honour rather than some dirty little secret. No more “Aunty Flo”, “Time of the Month” or blue liquid poured on sanitary pads. Period.


Girls today are calling that spade a spade and using the word Period with pride. We see this as a real success case illustration of positive disruption to an industry. To disrupt, we need to look beyond improving product benefits and tackle other market forces such as societal norms.