New tampon brand challenges menstruation shame

Out-of-home ads for Easy aim to get people talking about periods

Rebecca Harris October 28, 2016

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A launch campaign from Easy, a new organic tampon delivery service, is encouraging menstruating women to let it all hang out.

Developed by Cossette, “No Shame” aims to show people what life would be like if women – and society – weren’t ashamed of periods. Posters feature two women going skinny dipping – one with her tampon string showing; a couple spooning in bed, with a hot water bottle pressed against the woman’s stomach; a couple changing period-stained white sheets; and a woman who doesn’t let her period stop her from taking a relaxing bath.

“We wanted to do something that made people talk about periods because it’s something that is still looked at as taboo or shameful, which is a bit ridiculous in this day and age,” said Alyssa Bertram, CEO and founder of Easy. “By addressing it and talking about it, it reduces that shame and that stigma.”

Easy launched this past June, offering its service across Canada and the United States. Subscribers receive a delivery every three months. A three-month supply of tampons and/or pads costs $45, including shipping, and there’s even a Fair Trade chocolate bar in the box.

Bertram, formerly a senior research coordinator at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, said starting a tampon delivery service was something she had talked about for a long time. “I just found buying them to be a pain and it was kind of the time of the month where you least wanted to leave the house and you had this necessity you needed to purchase,” she said.

During the course of her research last year, Bertram ended up shifting the focus of Easy. “The idea changed from being just delivering tampons to delivering organic tampons once I learned about some of the dangers, like toxic, artificial fibres that can shed in the vaginal wall,” she said. “I switched to an organic brand and I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to sell people something that I wouldn’t use myself.”

Bertram also learned about the realities of girls and women in developing countries where feminine hygiene products aren’t available. She decided to partner with ZanaAfrica Foundation, which provides pads and health education to girls in Kenya. Five-percent of Easy’s proceeds will be donated to the foundation.

The target market for Easy is millennial women “who are already comfortable shopping online and are open to a shift in the way they do things,” said Bertram.

The new “No Shame” ads will run in 100 Toronto locations in Newad’s RestoBar Network, in both women’s and men’s washrooms. The campaign is running for four to eight weeks, and Bertram hopes to expand the campaign to other markets.

Bertram acknowledged the ads might make some people uncomfortable, but said she wouldn’t shy away from that reaction. “Sometimes we need to question the things we’re uncomfortable with and why,” she said. “If we can get that conversation started, I’d be very happy to be a part of that.”