Carefree challenges taboos on period reality

Johnson & Johnson has followed on from the controversial “Carefree Know Your Body” campaign of 2012 with “Be Real”, an advertising campaign tackling the taboos of periods and vaginal health head-on by demonstrating the reality and normality of periods. The campaign follows recent research that discovered women today are more comfortable talking about their sex lives than their periods. The Carefree “Be Real” commercials, shown on prime time television in Australia and New Zealand, and on the Carefree YouTube channel, features scenarios of women experiencing everything from anxiety over how to insert a tampon, to being caught out while getting a little too amorous. Women are invited to share their stories at and, and enjoy reading more stories, perhaps enjoy a laugh and also seek support on the site.

Carefree in the Bathroom

Carefree Be Real Campaign

Carefree’s research indicated that Australian women view other females who talk about their periods as vulgar (26%), crude (29%), embarrassing (41%) – and even weird (26%). The new ads intend to show women they are not alone and that the female experiences – good, bad or ugly – are what unite women everywhere.

Jen Speirs, creative director DDB Sydney, explains the thinking behind the Be Real campaign.

“With this campaign, we needed to reassure girls that whatever they’re experiencing, however scary or uncomfortable in relation to their period, is actually perfectly normal. We felt the most effective way for us to do this was to get other people to talk about what they’ve gone through in the past, or are going through now. The conversation that Carefree is starting with the TVCs will continue online where people can share their own real stories. The idea being that when girls hear lots of different stories, they’ll see just how similar we all are. And there’s something very comforting in that.”

Carefree on the wall
Carefree in the Car
Carefree Get Real Page

General Practitioner, Dr Farah Kroman*, who moderates a social forum on vaginal health, sponsored by CAREFREE®, believes it’s critical to address the sensitivities surrounding vaginal health and encourage women to stop talking about periods in a ‘hush hush’ fashion, like some sort of secret women’s business.

“Every day we receive questions through the CAREFREE® website from young women asking basic questions about their periods and vaginal health. The anonymous forum gives them courage to ask the questions that, for whatever reason, are not being answered within their inner circles. If women are not confident, or feel ashamed, to talk about such issues with friends, parents, or their own doctor – how can we expect our girls to understand what’s normal and healthy, in order to care for their bodies?” Dr Farah said.

Carefree Be Real Credits

The Carefree Be Real campaign was developed at DDB Australia Sydney by creative director Jen Speirs, art director Nadia Ahmad, copywriter Julia Spencer, planning director Paula Bloodworth, managing director Kate Sheppard, senior account director Sarah Quinn and account manager Nina Godinho.

Filming was shot by director Al Morrow via Jungleboys with director of photography Lachlan Milne, senior producer Claire Seffrin and producer Nick Simkins. Editor was Paul Swain. Post production was done at Method Studios. Music was composed and produced at Song Zu.

Media was handled at OMD by group business director Stella Carnegie, account director Noel Gate and interactive director Sian Withers. PR was handled by Ogilvy PR Health.