Columbus, OH – I know this may be TMI, but women have periods. Yep, I said it. Voices in the conversation about periods in the U.S. (and internationally) have gotten louder over the past few years, with movements like Free the Tampons, which started here in Columbus, and the advent of new products like THINX, underwear (actually, stylish underwear), that absorbs women’s periods. What I find most interesting isn’t the invention of the period underwear itself; I hope that with advancing technology we’d be constantly thinking of ways to improve “that time of the month” for women. To me, the conversations that have sprung up are the most fascinating part. Whether it’s about the risqué nature of THINX’s ads or how THINX’s founder may be using feminism to her advantage, the debates rage on about how these products should be marketed. Personally, I love how the ads capture the way women today really think and talk (see this article for some awesome examples). They address our questions head on in gutsy, funny ways and tackle “period shaming” with a loud roar. No woman should feel shame about this very normal aspect of womanhood, and brands can play an important role in changing attitudes.

Why this matters:

Brands that tackle health-related taboos are winning over the hearts and wallets of consumers, and THINX isn’t the only one (check out Damiva). As we craft marketing communications for these brands and products, it’s important stay empathetic to the audience, not glossing over the questions they have about topics that are traditionally seen as gross, scary, or weird. The brands that navigate these challenging waters successfully are the ones that win.

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.