Creative Dive: P&G Whisper – The Missing Chapter

The campaign, which recently won Bronze at Cannes Lions, set out to spark a conversation across the country on the need for a mandatory chapter on menstrual hygiene in the Indian school curriculum.

Client

P&G Whisper

Agency

EssenceMediacom India

Leo Burnett South Asia

Campaign Date

March 2022

market

India

Campaign Background

Before talking about the Missing Chapter, it is important to understand the context around menstrual hygiene in India. Surprisingly, out of the ~40 crore menstruating women in India, less than 20% use sanitary pads. Further, this number only grows to a substantial 52% in urban areas demonstrating the fact that nearly half the women, even in urban India, are still using unhygienic methods of menstrual protection which leads to a host of health issues.

These insights prompted us to think – how we can change this? We believed that the only way to help achieve menstrual hygiene and safeguard women’s health was through building awareness and acceptance of the right hygienic practices. This gave rise to Whisper’s #KeepGirlsInSchool movement.

Through this movement, we built awareness on girls dropping out of school when they hit puberty due to a lack of knowledge and education. The movement served as an extension of Whisper’s vision and raised an important question – how long a Missing Chapter can be kept away from the Indian education system?

The Missing Chapter campaign film conceptualized by Leo Burnett and subsequent outreach was aimed to spark a conversation across the country on the need of a specific chapter on menstrual hygiene in a country where periods are viewed as taboo and rarely spoken above hushed tones. The campaign was meant to reach stakeholder groups across the country to recognise the gap and question it.

To achieve wider impact, we harnessed the power of going to the grassroots through 25 impactful wall paintings across India to bring out the message of the Missing Chapter.

In an effort towards increasing awareness, we also saw news anchors reading the chapter on-air, as well as newspapers publishing the chapter on their front pages. All-in-all, we worked towards an approach that would stand out in front of people as a cause to stand for.

The Work

Deeper Dive

EssenceMediacom India

Objective:

Our objective was to spark a conversation across the country on the need for a mandatory chapter on menstrual hygiene in the Indian school curriculum. Primarily, we aimed to not only amplify the importance of period education but also stop girls from dropping out of school when they get their periods.

Idea:

  • With the Missing Chapter campaign, we worked towards influencing a historic decision by the government – changing a century-old education system by adding the missing chapter on periods in the school curriculum.
  • For the first time in India, we showcased the “Missing Chapter”, explaining the simple biology behind periods, sparking a revolution. This chapter was read out in the campaign film, through news readers on TV, and by citizens and influencers on social media.
  • This campaign went on to create a massive impact by spreading period education, thereby stopping generations of girls from dropping out of school.

Challenges faced and strategies executed for implementing the campaign

Challenge:

One challenge that always chronicled towards awareness and acceptance of hygienic practices was the missing chapter in the school syllabus across the country. The Missing Chapter on menstrual hygiene and period education could empower girls to know more about periods and encourage them to not look at them as taboo.

Strategy:

To address this challenge, Whisper adopted a three-pronged strategy of Awareness, Acceptance and Access to work towards increasing conversation on menstrual health and hygiene management (MHHM) and eventually raise the question of the Missing Chapter.

 Stage 1 – Awareness:

Whisper launched the movement with a campaign film, which told people the story of three rebellious girls reading the chapter out loud in school.

This was actioned with an aim to trigger the conversation nationally through the brand’s social media platforms and bring awareness towards the need for the Missing Chapter. Through a targeted press outreach,

“Through this movement, we built awareness on girls dropping out of school when they hit puberty due to a lack of knowledge and education.”

Whisper was able to reach its stakeholder groups to increase awareness about MHHM. The brand also harnessed the power of going to the grassroots through 25 impactful wall paintings conceptualised by Leo Burnett across India to bring out the message of the Missing Chapter.

Stage 2 – Acceptance:

To mark stage two, Whisper introduced an AR-led filter on Instagram, which enabled users to read the chapter and show their support for the cause and was further amplified by brand ambassador, Bhumi Pednekar. News channels read the chapter live on prime-time TV, while newspapers carried the chapter on their front pages to showcase the need for the Missing Chapter.

“Through the Missing Chapter campaign, we worked towards an approach which evoked an emotional yet powerful response from the viewers of the film and other stakeholders targeted through the outreach.”

Stage 3 – Access:

In the final stage of the movement, Whisper worked towards intensifying its sanitary pad donation drives across the country to ensure wider availability for young girls. The brand also stepped up its period education programme and committed towards ensuring more than 10 million girls – who are losing out on access to school.

How the campaign message was aligned with the target audience and the impact created:

  • With the Missing Chapter, we wanted to paint the nation red! To date, this initiative has reached 30 million people through various touchpoints from the outreach.
  • At P&G, we truly believe that our brands can be a force for good and drivers of positive change. As a brand, Whisper has always raised its voice and stood against taboos around periods – and that has been at the core of not just the previous campaigns like Touch The Pickle, Sit Improper, and Meri Life Mere Rules, but also in the previous iterations of the #KeepGirlsInSchool movement.
  • Through the Missing Chapter campaign, we worked towards an approach which evoked an emotional yet powerful response from the viewers of the film and other stakeholders targeted through the outreach. We used Instagram as a tool to roll-out a filter which would enable the user to take a pledge towards raising awareness towards the Missing Chapter in the education system. Through our e-commerce aggregators, we were able to distribute a cover with every pack of Whisper, which could be passed on to a girl and help her understand menstruation in detail.
  • Apart from these tactics, we also reached grassroots through the wall paintings and news readers reading the chapter on-air adding to increase in awareness for the campaign.
  • We put the chapter on rural school walls, and along school routes, so no girl could possibly miss it.

Measurable results and outcome of the campaign executed:

Through a mix of paid and earned outreach across Awareness, Acceptance, and Access stages, the brand was able to garner:

  • 11 million girls given period education
  • Period education extended to over 40,000 partner schools through the initiative
  • 43% earned coverage in Category A publications
  • 45 million+ total media impressions across online and print publications
  • 170 total media exposures across national, online, and regional print publications
  • 13 million reach on social media (more than 2X versus yearly average)
  • 207,000 impressions on the filter (98% from females)
  • 25 million views on YouTube
  • More than 35 million e-commerce impressions
  • Collective reach of 14.4 million
  • 5 million packs bought (above target)

Campaign Credits

EssenceMediacom

AOR Lead: Deepak Sonpar
General Manager: Vandana Mehra
Brand Director: Shilpa Desai
Associate Director: Jaspreet Virdi
Group Head: Jones Pinto

P&G

Vice President: Girish Kalyanaraman
Communications Director: Kruti Desai
Brand Directors: Varsha Rawat & Mohit Assudani
Brand Managers: Mahashweta, Maninder Kaur & Adrita Burman

Leo Burnett

CEO & Chief Creative Officer- South Asia: Rajdeepak Das
CEO & Chief Strategy Officer- South Asia: Dheeraj Sinha
National Creative Director: Sachin Kamble
National Creative Director: Vikram Pandey
Executive Creative Director: Sonal Chhajerh
Associate Executive Creative Director: Gaurav Kumar
Creative Director: Indrajeet Kadam
Copywriter: Kaizeen Vankadia
Art Director: Nilay Chourikar
Editor: Akshay Sonawane
Associate Creative Director Digital: Deepika Baghel
Executive Vice President & Head of Digital: Niket Kumar
Brand Services Partner: Andrea D’Souza
Brand Services Director: Purvi Bakliwal
Associate Vice President Strategy: Noor Samra
Brand Strategy Director: Anjali Kamath

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