Tune in to this episode of Will It Stick, with Alexis and Melissa as they break down the craziest brand stunts and campaigns. In this episode, the pair break down the controversial advertising and marketing campaigns from Thinx – underwear that absorbs your period. Thinx is known today as a direct-to-consumer feminine hygiene brand.
The brand, led by founder Miki Agrawal, started as an idea among three friends in 2011… Miki, her sister Radha Agrawal, and their friend Antonia Dunbar.
The friends had a vision to make a mark on the world and realized that there was one glaring issue that they all shared…periods. They shared story after story with each other – Antonia talked about a time when she was mortified at age 13 when a football player asked her if she sat in ketchup. Miki talked about a trip to Africa where she met a young girl who had to stay home from school because she was in the middle of what the girl called her “week of shame”. That led her to find out that in developing countries, women miss at least 20% of the school year because of their periods. They don’t have even the most basic options like pads and tampons. Millions of women drop out of school because of their menstrual cycles.
So, knowing that, the three ladies got to work created Thinx, starting with a successful Kickstarter campaign. The brand has a purpose-driven business model, funding washable, reusable menstrual pads to women in developing countries, with every pair sold. Miki took the role as CEO and she embarked on a journey to that would shock and awe.
Miki starts with an idea that uses a model wearing underwear that covers more than a swimsuit, and a sweater – she wanted to utilize this for outdoor advertising in New York with the MTA. But, Outfront Media (who runs the media) said the ads “showed a bit too much skin” and were inappropriate… simply because it was an ad for a women’s period product and might be off-putting to some. Miki had a field day with this – since there were many far more sexual and inappropriate ads running in the New York Subway system. She went straight to the media and the rest is really history – from here on out, she has built an insane following and changed conversations because of her knack for getting advertising campaigns banned and stirring up controversy.
Melissa and Alexis dive into a number of different Thinx campaigns that will really make you think. Tune in to hear all the juicy details of Thinx creative campaigns to understand how that tactic impacted the bottom line and turned the company into a $50 million brand.
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Read the Slate article by Christina Cauterucci about Thinx subway ads here.
Read the Marketing Week story about Thinx and its first TV campaign here.
Read the Inc Magazine article about how Thinx almost imploded here.
Check out the Wikipedia entry on Thinx here.
Check out Thinx YouTube channel here.