RIO Pads

The case of the company that sought to understand the women in the shadows.

The Challenge:

An estimated 1 in 5 (20%) women suffer from PCOD/PCOS in India. Their lives come to a standstill for five days each month because of extremely heavy bleeding and physical weakness. But, lack of awareness and the stigmatisation of menstruation as “dirty,” “shameful,” “taboo” has kept these women in the shadows and suffering in silence.

Nobel Hygiene recognised this as a problem and partnered with us to enter into this silent world of women with PCOD. They aimed to understand the intense anguish and psychological warfare these women wage every month.

The Ask:

1. Test the final prototype of an innovative pad, RIO, that increased comfort and decreased bloody mishaps- a cause of much anxiety for these women.

2. Identify relevant communication cues to help them drive change for this segment of women, challenge the status quo, sensitise people to reality, and destroy menstruation stigmatisation.

Getting their communication right was crucial because this segment was already cluttered with many existing brands and brand promises.

The Ormax Approach:

Our obvious choice was Extended Intimate Interviews with 20 women with early-onset menopause and PCOD.

We deployed two methods:

1. Pre-Interview product placement- To help understand the experience of the
product, simulate reality, and minimise research bias.

2. Post-Interview product placement- To help understand how they measured the
performance parameters and the benchmarks of the product.
We also went beyond the brief and also spoke to gynaecologists, tapped into online forums, and read up related literature.

The study posed unexpected challenges for us in terms of identifying women with PCOD or early-onset menopause as many were unaware of their condition. They had taken their situations in their stride, thinking that they just had their menstruation slightly worse.

It was also difficult to push the boundaries, discuss a taboo topic, and enter into private spaces that were rarely explored leave alone, discussed with total strangers.

How Ormax Compass Pointed The Way:

Nevertheless, the study brought a deep, understanding of the psyche of these women and how they cope during the five traumatic days each month.
It also resulted in the ground-breaking, RIO sanitary pad advertising- the first of its type to take on the status quo -a true narrative of the women suffering from these issues.

It would be the first brand to tackle the issue of women with PCOD, heavy blood flow, the anxiety of lakhs of women, and depict menstrual blood as it is- in all its crimson glory.

The advertising community and 1000s of women applauded the communication because it was the first step towards open and honest conversations and a revolution in female hygiene in India.

Importantly, it presented an opportunity for every sanitary pad producing company to reconnect with and educate their female consumers.

Within a few months of launching RIO,  Nobel won the Economic Times Brand Leader Award for the Most Promising Make in India Women’s Personal Hygiene Brand. We applaud our participants for their contribution and taking the first step out of the shadows.