A company that sells period-proof underwear is claiming its proposed ads have not been approved yet because they are considered inappropriate.
Thinx, a company that aims to “eliminate shame” surrounding periods, proposed an ad campaign to promote its “underwear for women with periods.” According to Thinx’s CEO and co-founder, Miki Agrawal, the ads have not been approved for placement in the New York City subway by Outfront Media, a company responsible for reviewing some of the advertising for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), for various reasons including the amount of skin visible in the ads.
According to an email exchange, obtained by The Huffington Post, a representative from Outfront Media explained to Agrawal that the ads seemed to have “a bit too much skin” and that the grapefruit and egg used for imagery seemed “inappropriate.” Agrawal also claims that an Outfront representative was worried about children seeing the ad.
Agrawal told HuffPost, she replied by comparing Thinx’s campaign to existing ads on the subways that show skin and similarly use food imagery to get their point across, including an ad for breast augmentation. Veronica del Rosario, Thinx’s director of marketing, told Mic she also specifically pointed this out to an Outfront representative.
“I stated [to an Outfront rep] that it was extremely disheartening that [certain other ads] could fly, but something for women that speaks directly to women isn’t OK by them,” she said. “He replied, ‘This is not a women’s issue. Don’t try to make it a women’s rights thing.'”
Here are some existing New York City subway ads shared by Twitter users.
Agrawal told HuffPost that Thinx is still waiting on the ads to be approved. After reaching out for comment, The Huffington Post received this statement from the MTA clarifying that the ads have not yet been rejected.
We have not rejected the ads. We’re still reviewing the ads, which sometimes takes time when some people have strong reactions to an ad. We follow our standards, but we want to make sure we give it a full review.
The Huffington Post also received a statement from an Outfront Media spokesperson, who clarified that the ads are still in review.
Together with our transit partners, we make every effort to assist advertisers in creating campaigns that are both effective and appropriate to the transit environment. This is the approach that was followed with respect to the advertisements proposed by Thinx.
No copy was ever rejected and the current copy is still in the MTA review process. We suggested changes that we felt were appropriate for the riding public and were hoping to work with the advertiser to refine the copy.
Agrawal told the HuffPost that aside from fixing a copyright issue, the company does not plan on altering the ads since it “completely adhered to” the MTA’s guidelines.
“The double standard ends right here,” she said.
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