Facebook Bans Ad for Period Underwear Because It Shows Red Menstrual Blood

Feminine hygiene brand Modibodi was told the campaign violated the platform's advertising policy

Screenshot of Modibodi ad
The founder of Modibodi said it's 'disappointing Facebook doesn’t want to normalize the conversation around menstruation.' Modibodi/YouTube
Headshot of Minda Smiley

UPDATE: Facebook has walked back its ban on a Modibodi ad featuring period blood. The ad was initially taken off the platform for violating Facebook’s advertising policies regarding “sensational content,” but the social network has since resumed the campaign “after further review and consultation.”

In some corners of the world, like Pantone’s color palette, menstruation is being celebrated. In others, it’s deemed controversial.

Modibodi, which sells period and leak-proof underwear, said an ad it recently began running on Facebook has violated the platform’s advertising policies. According to the brand, Facebook indicated that three scenes featuring the color red to represent period blood have to be edited out if Modibodi wants to resume the campaign.

The “New Way to Period” campaign was created by Australian agency Emotive and directed by Dani Pearce. In it, period blood is shown on a stained comforter, in the shower and in a waste basket filled with pads and tampons.

Modibodi said it was told the ad violated Facebook’s guidelines regarding “shocking, sensational, disrespectful or excessively violent content.” Facebook has not responded to requests for comment.

“Our aim for this film was to open people’s minds by taking the stigma out of what is a perfectly natural bodily function for women,” Modibodi’s founder and CEO Kristy Chong said in a statement. “It was not made to be deliberately sensational or provocative, but to show the very real and natural side of periods. We’ve used red to represent blood from day one.”

Chong added that other media platforms “have not taken the same direction as Facebook.” And according to Modibodi, YouTube also initially banned the ad, but later rescinded the decision following a review.

Modibodi is one of many brands trying to destigmatize periods and portray them more accurately. Libresse, a European brand that sells menstrual products, recently debuted the campaign “Womb Stories” that poignantly explores what it’s like to have a womb. Beyond menstruation, it shows women suffering miscarriages, navigating menopause and dealing with the pain of endometriosis.

Thinx, a brand that also sells period-proof underwear, created an ad last year that imagined a world where men have periods.

@Minda_Smiley minda.smiley@adweek.com Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.