Sadly, I feel it necessary to warn any male readers of this blog that this post discusses feminine hygiene products and will include words like “vagina,” “menstrual,” “tampon,” and perhaps even “blood.” But if you can handle it, it will be interesting and informative. Oh, don’t be such a sissy!
Yesterday morning, I woke up to find a link to this video in my Facebook feed. Mooncup Ltd. is AT IT AGAIN with the viral video game! Mooncup Ltd. FTW!!!
Many of you may not know that while at the University of Leeds Business School, I wrote my master’s project on communication issues surrounding the Mooncup, a reusable form of sanitary protection for women. I follow them on Facebook and Twitter and am always delighted when I see something new from Mooncup Ltd. I was especially happy when I saw yesterday’s video because it shows a shift Mooncup Ltd.’s marketing messages.
In 2010, Mooncup Ltd. launched their first print advertising campaign entitled, “Love Your Vagina.” Posters on the London Underground and other public spaces showed different pet names for a woman’s genitals and extolled women to love their vaginas and visit this website. Once there, you could contribute your own pet name, and in the spring of 2011, the “Love Your Vagina” song made its debut on YouTube and has been getting awkwardly stuck in people’s heads since (hehehe, just watching it again now makes me giggle!).
All this is wonderful, of course, and it set the advertising world abuzz with praise for their creativity. Mooncup Ltd.’s advertising agency, St Luke’s, even won silver at the London International Awards. But what did it do for sales of the Mooncup? Not much, apparently. And that’s why I wanted to help out (being a devoted Mooncup user myself).
My research found that the Mooncup was still (in 2011) a largely unknown sanitary protection option which elicited responses like, “WTF?? Ewwwww!!” Those who had heard about it associated it largely with hippies and eco-nuts, and wrote it off as not for them. Mooncup Ltd.’s approach to communication and advertising didn’t jive with this perception. The “Love Your Vagina” campaign was what is called an emotional appeal which peaked curiosity but did not directly provide much information about what the Mooncup actually is. The subsequent “Love Your Beach” print campaign also used an emotional appeal about caring for the UK’s beaches by using the Mooncup. However, it failed to even include the mooncup.co.uk URL in the copy. No information about what the product actually was was forthcoming.
A thorough literature review showed me that emotional appeals are more effective when dealing with known products. In interviews with non-users of the Mooncup, I learned that they would rather an informative appeal. The ideal spot would be in a women’s magazine where a lady could quietly (and privately) read about the product, get used to the idea and then perhaps visit the website. I also found in my research that Mooncup Ltd.’s tagline of “safer, greener, cheaper” didn’t really appeal to women. Rather, ladies were more interested in the Mooncup’s perceived health benefits (keeping natural balance, not irritating or causing TSS), its promise of more reliable protection (not one interviewee expressed complete satisfaction with her current choice of sanitary protection), and its being more convenient (as in, it can hold three times as much and therefore requires less maintenance than other forms of protection). After months of stress and research (sorry to those of you who lived through that…), I put all this information into a tidy report and sent it off to Kath Clements at Mooncup Ltd. She wrote me a lovely email thanking me and saying the report contained some real gold nuggets of information. Hooray!! That, and receiving a distinction level mark on the project made me feel pretty good.
Fast forward to yesterday morning and the new Tampon vs. Mooncup Rap Battle. As I said before, I was very happy to see that the video addressed some of my suggestions! The rap is easy to understand, and it provides a little information about what the Mooncup is and how it works. The “tampon” side voices misgivings women have about the Mooncup, while the “Mooncup” side answers them. The video is a bit of a balance between an informational and an emotional appeal, and I think it’s very cleverly done.
However, while this is great creative and provides some information, I think that Mooncup Ltd. needs to balance this kind of viral marketing with a parallel informative print campaign. (Now, to be fair, since I am not in the UK I do not know if they have in fact done this. It could be that they have a print campaign running right now and I’m just not aware of it.) As I said, the advantage of print is that you can provide lots of information. A well-worded description of the product, similar to the one in this video, is an essential starting point for the Mooncup’s diffusion into mainstream consciousness. Why would someone share an online video of a rap battle between tampon and Mooncup if they don’t even know what a Mooncup is?
In conclusion, this new video is a step in the right direction. It includes a bit more information about what the Mooncup actually is (hooray!), and it answers some questions. I’d be really curious to know what kind of an effect this video has on visits to the website and eventually, sales of the Mooncup. I love how Mooncup Ltd. makes use of social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, but I still feel that in order to get a strong foothold in the mainstream sanitary protection market, they need to do more advertising in traditional media, namely print. They do have a corner on a niche market, but their advertising activities to date tell me that they are looking to expand into the mainstream. I hope that they can do it, because, frankly, using a Mooncup has completely changed my period, and I wish the same positive, stress-free experience for all ladies out there.