Libra’s #bloodnormal campaign is the most complained about ad of 2019

Image via Libra
Words by Maeve Kerr-Crowley

Ad Standards dismissed over 600 complaints.

In unsurprising but vaguely disappointing news, Libra’s #bloodnormal campaign has claimed the title of the most complained about ad of the year.

Ad Standards told Mumbrella it had already received over 600 complaints about the commercial, well and truly usurping the Us film trailer which brought in 244 complaints.

For anyone who hasn’t seen it, the ad in question features a number of people going about their lives while on their period.

One woman unashamedly asks her friend for a pad at a dinner party, another removes a pad in a toilet stall, and a third is shown showering with blood running down her leg.

The campaign was designed to normalise discussions of menstruation in society. Statistics presented by Libra show that three in four women feel there is a stigma against getting your period.

And it’s hard not to see the appeal of Libra’s judgement-free world, where slipping a pad into your pocket as subtly as possible – because god forbid someone sees a flash of funky coloured paper and shun you forever – isn’t a pressing concern.

600 people clearly feel differently, however, with complaints calling the ad “offensive”, “confronting” and “degrading”.

Some opinions compared the depiction of menstrual blood to showing toilet paper covered in faeces, while others raised the issue of children – and particularly boys – seeing the commercial. A number of complaints even accused Libra of sexualising periods.

In response, Ad Standards has ruled that the campaign does not breach any of its ethics or regulations.

The panel explained that the topic of periods itself is not degrading or shameful, and that the depiction of those experiencing menstruation was respectful and tastefully executed.

It was also noted that children aged 12 and younger can experience periods, and were therefore a relevant audience for the ad’s message.

This ruling is a particularly important win in light of Libra’s intentions, highlighting the importance of changing how we think about periods.

After all, if we call an ad about pads and tampons embarrassing and inappropriate, how can we expect to kick the stigma against our own very natural experiences?

So, bleed away, team. It’s totally normal.


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