Adverts which were the first to depict menstrual blood on Australian television did not breach viewing standards, regulators say.
The ads were run by sanitary pad brand Libra last month and showed stained underwear and blood on a woman’s legs.
Viewers made over 600 complaints that the commercials were inappropriate – the highest number for any ads in 2019.
But Australia’s industry regulator dismissed the complaints and praised the message of what had been depicted.
Ad Standards said the campaign was seen to be “promoting equality and the de-mystification of menstruation”.
Libra’s parent company, Asaleo Care, said the adverts had tackled a taboo and feelings of shame experienced by many women and girls when having their period.
It also showed text such as: “Periods are normal. Showing them should be too”.
Viewers who made official complaints argued the depictions were “offensive and inappropriate” and “disgusting”.
In their response, regulators acknowledged that some viewers “would prefer not to see bodily fluids displayed on television” but said the adverts did not breach the industry’s ethics code.
They also dismissed complaints that the ads were inappropriate for prime-time slots or to be viewed by children.
“There is no negative language or imagery in the advertisement that implies that… [women] should be embarrassed about menstruation or that a woman who is menstruating is a lesser person,” they wrote in their case report.
Asaleo Care said the adverts were based on the #BloodNormal campaign by its sister company Essity.
The campaign featured sanitary pads stained with red liquid, rather than blue. It was launched in 2017, beginning in the UK, and has since been rolled out across Europe, the Americas and South Africa.
Six years earlier, feminine hygiene company Always became the first company to feature an advert with a red dot on a maxi pad.
An intern at the firm’s advertising agency, Leo Brown, came up with the idea and the campaign was run in 2011.