See Maxipad Maker Bodyform’s Brilliant Reply to a Man’s Facebook Rant

Blunt apology for years of false advertising

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Brands often freeze up when they’re criticized on Facebook. U.K. maxipad maker Bodyform makes the most of it.

A week ago, a man named Richard Neill posted a rant on Bodyform’s Facebook wall, humorously calling out the brand for false advertising—saying his girlfriend doesn’t have happy periods like those depicted in the ads, but instead becomes “the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin.” The post has gotten more than 84,000 likes. Rather than ignore it, Bodyform one-upped Mr. Neill with the video below, in which it pretends to fess up about its pathological lying.

The clip is genius from the opening frames, as we see CEO Caroline Williams (actually played by an actress) pour herself a glass of blue water. “I think it’s time we came clean,” she says. “We lied to you, Richard, and I want to say sorry. … Sorry.” She goes on to facetiously explain why the company has used metaphorical imagery in its ads rather than focusing on “the blood coursing from our uteri like a crimson landslide.”

It’s an inspired bit of writing and performance, capped off by a hilarious ending. And it’s brave to admit, even in the context of the joke, that your ads don’t tell the whole story. Not every brand would feel comfortable doing this, or more to the point, have the skill to pull it off. Of course, it helped that Neill set the tone with his own comedy. Still, this is what great social engagement looks like. Via Mashable.

UPDATE: The idea came from Carat, and was executed by Rubber Republic. Scroll down for statements from the agency and brand.

UPDATE: This work won gold in the Cyber Lions category at Cannes in June 2013.

UPDATE: Yulia Kretova, brand controller for Bodyform said in a statement: “We found Richard’s post very amusing and wanted to continue the positive dialogue around periods that this generated. Working with the brand for five years, breaking down the taboo around Bodyform and periods has always been a challenge, and I hope that we have started to address this. Carat has created an original and uniquely personalized response, brilliantly PR-ed by Myriad, allowing Bodyform to quickly engage in consumer conversations in a meaningful way.”

Rachael Lake, communications planning manager at Carat, added: “Bodyform’s advertisements have a long, distinguished history that we wanted to build on in our film. Our carefully crafted response to the Facebook post is deliberately playful and uses video to present a humorous and spirited take on an often slightly taboo subject.”

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.