Wombs, bums, and brands that are keeping it real!

In her latest blog post, Irina Dimitriade, senior research manager at Mustard, gives a quick shout out to two brands that are being refreshingly honest, and demonstrating what is possible with campaigns based on real-life insight.


I’m one of those millennials that hardly watches live, linear TV (I have about four or five video streaming subscriptions). However, this season of Great British Bake-Off has had me glued to Channel 4 every Tuesday evening, and not only because of Noel Fielding’s charm (no judgement, please!).

Given that I watch Live TV so seldomly, it has been a rare treat for me to actively watch the “commercials” and recently I’ve seen a couple of adverts that have grabbed my attention – and for the right reasons. Two brands, in particular, seem to have very much got it “spot on”.

Bodyform – #wombstories

I was already a big fan of Bodyform, but with this latest campaign my admiration for them has gone up another notch!

They found an amazing way to tell stories of female bodies and the breadth of lived experiences – pain, pleasure, love, hate, scars, giving birth, hot flushes, infertility, menopause, wanting children, not wanting children and many, many others.

I remember a time when brands were showing periods as blue, with smiling women in white trousers checking for spots in any mirrored window they could find. So unrepresentative and unreal! We all knew that’s not how it happened in real life, so why did brands avoid telling it how it is?

Through what must have been a rich exploration of consumer insight, and really listening to women’s stories, Bodyform have changed the game completely from where the brand and category was previously! They’re putting real, lived experiences on the screen, removing the stigma that often comes with talking about wombs and periods.

Finally! Now I look forward to the moment they also include non-binary people in their ads.

Andrex – Clean is a Feeling

For 30 seconds you see 17 different bums (yes, I counted), all experiencing different vibes of happy clean.

What I enjoyed about this advert is how Andrex has found a fun and effective way to show a variety of lived experiences of what it means to feel clean. And it’s not just any type of clean – Andrex is a toilet paper brand, and we all know what we use that for. So why avoid talking about it?

This advert really gives me the good vibes. Clean means I’m freeeeeeeeee!!

It wasn’t Mustard’s insight that has informed and inspired these excellent campaigns, but I’m always delighted to give credit where it’s due. Both campaigns will have undoubtedly used in-depth, qualitative, ethnographic research techniques to better understand the target consumer’s relationship with the product, the category, and their (emotive) motivations for engagement and disengagement. I imagine, too, that both have used qualitative methods to refine creative, and quantitative methods to measure their effectiveness. My guess is that the impact on brand perceptions, brand warmth and engagement, and ultimately intention to purchase will all make excellent reading for the brand managers and marketing teams involved.

At Mustard we’ve been conducting similar studies for over 30 years now. For more information on how we go about it, please get in touch!

Tel: +44(0)161 235 5270