When it comes to period care, not everyone is considered. Period-subscription service Freda believes that access to period products should be human right, but today, at this stage, there still isn't enough awareness that menstruation is not 'just' a female phenomenon.
To tackle this issue and raise awareness, Freda partnered with the team at McCann Madrid to market Cycle, a range of pads and tampons "free from plastics, pollutants and preconceptions". The beautifully-shot campaign below fights preconceptions and targets non-binary and transgender individuals, universally less represented in period advertising compared to cisgender women.
Today we are getting Behind the Idea following a chat with Great Guns Director Mar del Corral.
What was the brief?
Freda believes that access to period products should be a human right. So the brief for this project started from the concept that menstruation is not ‘just’ a female phenomenon, that it’s a natural human phenomenon. Their main goal was to raise awareness around this problem to showcase the importance of period inclusivity. We felt that this starting point was really interesting and needed, as we are not used to seeing this approach in commercials for period products. Hopefully this will change.
How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?
We all approached the project from respect, love and a lot of learning. We produced ideas in a very open way, discussing what was best for the project. I felt we were completely aligned from the beginning with both, agency and client, so I would say that the process was very fluid in that sense. We spoke a lot with our protagonists Keane, Jamie and Siufung to make sure we were approaching the matter from the right place as we were having very delicate conversations about gender identity. It was such an inspiring project with a lot of learning behind.
Tell us more about the concept. How did it come to life, and why was it the right choice?
The documentary style came from a sentence that I always have running in my head by Godard that says ‘when you photograph a face, you photograph the soul behind it’ so that was basically it. We had the need to be honest, raw and sincere, with no artificial flavourings. The film is about their stories (that’s why the election of voice overs) and our protagonists portrayed in an intimate way where any human could feel related to them, specially for future generations to see that there is actually a place where they can feel safe with their identities. The election of black & white was something very interesting as well. We are used to associate colours to gender, so we wanted in a metaphorical way to remove that idea from the screen.
What was the production process like? What was the biggest challenge?
It was powerful! We overcame all the difficulties teaming up in a very inspiring way. We worked in a very short timeframe (a matter of days), but with that I learned that when you really want something to happen, it will happen. Also the challenge of shooting remotely; sometimes I wanted to jump through the screen on set just to feel the magic, though incredibly cool it was powerful to know that with the right team, we were able to manage it with me directing remotely. Under such circumstances, we use the obstacles as a tool to challenge ourselves to grow I guess!
What is one funny or notable thing that happened during the production of the campaign?
My family couldn’t really understand how I was shooting from my place so they kept calling me to see how it was going and if I could send them screenshots. I also woke up my flatmates. We started very early in the morning, it was Easter holidays and I was very passionate speaking with the crew so they were entering in my room with sleepy faces asking me to speak quieter.
What’s the main message of the campaign and why does it matter?
The main message of the campaign is to raise awareness about communities who are impacted by a lack of period inclusivity. No matter where or why everyone deserves access to period products that keep us safe and happy, without compromising the values that are important to all of us.
What is one unique aspect of the campaign?
Most period products are marketed specifically to cisgender women, an oversight that contributes to stigma surrounding menstruation. The products, and advertising around them, are targeting the lesser-heard voices of people who menstruate, such as transgender men and non-binary individuals.
How long did it take from inception to delivery?
It was the shortest deadline that I ever experienced! We filmed three days after the project was approved. We had to find a crew to shoot in UK and in Hong Kong in that short amount of time! Both production companies, Blur and Great Guns did impeccable work. Then we had a week for post production. So in the end I would say around a tiny bit less than two weeks in total. I can’t be more grateful about the team that made it happen.
What do you hope it achieves for the brand?
Most period products are marketed specifically to cisgender women, an oversight that contributes to stigma surrounding menstruation. So this is like a spark for a conversation that should have started long ago. We need period products to be inclusive and accessible for everyone.
Credit list for the campaign?
AGENCY: McCann Madrid
PRODUCT: Cycle by Freda
Isabelle Soskice: Marketing & Strategy Director
Kasey Robinson: Inclusion Lead
Afsaneh Parvizi-Wayne: CEO
EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Mónica Moro, CCO McCann Madrid
EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR EUROPE: Adrian Botan, CCO McCann Worldgroup
Mónica Moro: Copywriter
Borja Diego: Art Director, McCann Madrid
Rafael Martínez: Copywriter, McCann Madrid
Xavier Ocaña: Art Director
Catarina Barcala: Art Director
Lucas Crigler: Creative Consultant, McCann NY
CONTRIBUTING AGENCY: McCann Q
PRODUCTION AGENCY: CRAFTWW Madrid
LEAD EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Paloma Adrien
PRODUCER: Yasmina Soriano / Juan Torres
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Blur / Great Guns
DIRECTOR: Mar del Corral
Executive Producers: Mario Forniés (Blur) and Laura Gregory (Great Guns)
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Lorena Pagés (UK) and Alix Roussel (Hong Kong)
PRODUCERS: Sete Ledó (Blur) and Tim Francis (Great Guns)
POST-PRODUCTION COORDINATOR: Sara del Tío
Editor: Sebastian Antico, Ismail Najjar
COLOR GRADING: Gradepunk
SOUND DESIGN: Pablo Aset
Alexandra von Puttkamer: Business Director, McCann Madrid
Carmen Bistrian: Creative Excellence Manager Europe
Billy LePage: Strategist, McCann NY
Juanma Ramirez: Head of Planning, McCann Madrid
Dr. Rodney Collins: UK & Europe Truth Central Director
Theis Anderson: Truth Central Intern
PR AGENCY: Weber Shandwick, London
Jenny Wakefield: Senior Manager, Weber Shandwick London
Rosanna Sacks: Account Director, Weber Shandwick London