3 taboo-breaking acts around August 15, 2020

This independence day (74th Indian Independence Day), two taboo products came to the fore in unusual and conventional ways.

The conventional one first – adult diapers. I wrote about adult diaper brand Friends’ new campaign that utilizes the independence day-centric Azaadi Mubarak theme last week.

The other taboo product was sanitary napkins.

The unusual fillip came from our Prime Minister, who, while referring to his Government’s achievements, broke the taboo and spoke about menstrual hygiene and sanitary napkins (for the first time) in an independence day speech. It could also be seen as a symbolic freeing of the taboo topic.

The other unusual push was from the sanitary napkins brand, Niine. On 15th, Niine announced that it has partnered with the Rajasthan Royals IPL (men’s) team as a sponsor!

Previously, sportswomen have been the face of menstrual hygiene products.

PV Sindhu has been associated with Johnson & Johnson’s Stayfree, while Saina Nehwal has been a brand ambassador for another brand, Paree (she has also invested in the company).

Serena Williams has been the face of Tampax.

Most famously, WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) refused Tampax’s sponsorship in 1995 fearing ridicule!! “Initially, my reaction was that it would be good to have the money. But almost immediately I realized that the sport had the potential to be a laughingstock and just couldn’t afford to do it”, said WTA president of that time, Martina Navratilova!

Given this history, it is perhaps pathbreaking that Niine is the sponsor of a men’s cricket team!

The move, no doubt, forces men to see, take note and listen to messaging related to menstrual hygiene and sanitary napkins (given they form the majority of a/the team’s fan base). The increased visibility and awareness should help, sales-wise too, I presume.

We have come a long way since Doordarshan relegated sanitary napkin advertisements to the post-10PM slot!

The ultimate taboo-breaking would be a condom brand sponsoring an IPL team. And Manforce Condoms has been sponsoring Kings XI Punjab since 2015!

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