Carefree Acti-Fresh Know Your Body

New Zealand’s Advertising Standards Authority has ruled not to proceed with any of the 18 complaints about an advert for the Johnson & Johnson’s television commercial for Carefree Acti-Fresh Panty Liners. The ad, launched in July, reportedly featured the first use of the word “vagina” in a television commercial in both New Zealand and Australia, creating an initial flurry of publicity and complaints, particularly about the words “vagina” and “discharge.”

Carefree Acti-Fresh ad

303Lowe describes the creative idea of “Know your body” as a celebration of the female body and everything it can do. The advertising approach is designed to provide an honest and elegant approach to perfectly natural yet often delicate subject of discharge. The television commercial focuses on the heroine who is talking to the audience in a confident and informative way. Her nudity reflects the honesty of what she is saying – she has nothing to hide. The backdrop is mainly white and ‘pure’, another cue for the naturalness of the subject matter.

Click on the image below to play the Carefree Acti-Fresh video.


“I am disgusted that this advert is on tv,” complainant K Spice wrote. “I have a nine year old who is up until 8pm to 8.30pm and he definitely does not need to hear words like that.” Another complainant said the pairing of a naked woman and the word vagina was overly sexual.

ASA complaints board chairman Jenny Robson said the use of “anatomically correct” words for parts of the body was acceptable, taking into account the product being advertised. The same applied for “discharge”. While the woman appeared naked, she was shown from a distance, no genitalia were visible and her appearance was “neither salacious nor titillating”, says the ruling issued today. The ruling also noted feminine hygiene products are now being openly discussed, and while some may find this offensive, it did not mean advertising codes were being breached. There were therefore no grounds for the complaint to proceed.

Acti-Fresh Credits

The Acti-Fresh campaign was developed at 303Lowe, Sydney.

PR was handled by Zing in Australia and Wright Communications in New Zealand. Media was handled by OMD.

Digital work was done by The Farm Digital, Sydney.

Filed under: Commercials, Johnson & Johnson

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