The Tampon Book

Scholz & Friends in Germany, a strategic partner of VMLY&R, used creativity and tampons to outsmart the tax system legally — helping The Female Company, an online shop for feminine hygiene products, become a political player and, in turn, change unfair laws against women.

VMLY&R and Scholz & Friends, both WPP companies, operate under a strategic alliance that bolsters presence across Europe and scales offerings for international clients. To learn more about Scholz & Friends, visit www.s-f.com/en.

INSIGHT

Caviar, truffles and even oil paintings: in Germany, many luxury goods are granted a reduced tax rate of seven per cent. Tampons, however, are subject to the top VAT rate of 19 per cent. The founders of the online shop The Female Company didn’t want to just sell feminine hygiene products; they also wanted to take action against this discriminatory taxation.

 

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The idea, by Scholz & Friends, was to outsmart tax law through its own regulations by selling organic tampons packaged in a book. Since a lower tax rate applies for books, we can sell these tampons at the lower tax rate of seven per cent. Offering 45 pages of provocative illustrations and empowering content on the topic of menstruation, taboos and feminism, the book is more than just really smart packaging.

RESULTS
  • The Tampon Book kicked off a societal debate that generated awareness and helped the public see new ways of thinking.
  • The first print run of 1,000 copies of The Tampon Book sold out nearly immediately. Though originally planned as a one-off promotion, The Tampon Book was so successful that The Female Company had to have further print runs.
  • The case film registered more than 10.5 million views on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
  • Mainstream media outlets like RTL and ProSieben/Sat.1 took up the story. Cross-regional newspapers like the F.A.Z. did as well.
  • Nearly all German-speaking feminist-oriented blogs reported on The Tampon Book.
  • The book also supported the petition “Die Periode ist kein Luxus” (A period is not a luxury). The petition forced achieved well over the required 150,000 signatures and forced the German Bundestag to take up the issue of eliminating the tax on tampons.
AWARDS
  • One grand, 10 gold, two silver and six bronze at New York Festivals
  • Two best of discipline, seven gold and one bronze at ADC Awards
 
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