2019 Brand Experience & Activation

THE TAMPON BOOK: A BOOK AGAINST TAX DISCRIMINATION

Gold eurobest Award

Case Film

Presentation Image

ClientTHE FEMALE COMPANY
Category B04. Use of Print or Outdoor
TitleTHE TAMPON BOOK: A BOOK AGAINST TAX DISCRIMINATION
Product/ServiceTHE TAMPON BOOK
Entrant SCHOLZ & FRIENDS Berlin, GERMANY
Idea Creation SCHOLZ & FRIENDS Berlin, GERMANY
Media Placement THE FEMALE COMPANY Stuttgart, GERMANY
PR SCHOLZ & FRIENDS Berlin, GERMANY
Production SCHOLZ & FRIENDS Berlin, GERMANY
Production 2 METAGATE Berlin, GERMANY
Credits
Name Company Position
Matthias Spaetgens Scholz & Friends Berlin GmbH Chief Creative Officer
Oliver Handlos Scholz & Friends Berlin GmbH Executive Creative Director
Robert Krause Scholz & Friends Berlin GmbH Executive Creative Director
Malik Benamara Scholz & Friends Berlin GmbH Creative Director
Sebastian Stelzer Scholz & Friends Berlin GmbH Copywriter
Ilona Hartmann Scholz & Friends Berlin GmbH Copywriter
Ilona Hartmann Scholz & Friends Berlin GmbH Copywriter
Max Marohn Scholz & Friends Berlin GmbH Art Director
Daniel Klessig Scholz & Friends Berlin GmbH Cinematographer
Jan Lagowski Scholz & Friends Berlin GmbH Cinematographer
Kerstin Mende Scholz & Friends Hamburg GmbH Art Buyer
Benito Schumacher Scholz & Friends Berlin GmbH Print Producer
Sarah Dahm Scholz & Friends Berlin GmbH Account Manager
Cedric Soltani Studio Dropped Photographer
Ana Curbelo external Illustrator
Natalie Krzyz external Graphics
Alica Läuger external Illustrator

Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

A small book goes head-to-head with the German tax system - and quickly makes the tampon tax waver. With its message "Menstruating is luxury", it put two taboo topics - VAT and menstruation - on the agenda and mobilised not only social media, but also the German media and many politicians to take direct action against the tampon tax. The submission of an application to the German Bundestag to lower the tampon tax is a resounding success that optimally represents the mission of the young social startup The Female Company: provide fair and affordable access to menstrual products for all.

background

Caviar, Truffles and even oil paintings – in Germany many luxury goods are taxed with the reduced rate of only 7% while tampons and other female sanitary products attract the top value added tax rate of 19%. The so-called tampon tax provoked international protests in recent years and has already been abolished in countries like Canada and Kenya and even some US-States. However, in Germany, tampons are still taxed as luxury goods and politicians refused to act. The Female Company, an online shop which sells organic female sanitary products wanted to take the lead in the feminist movement against the tampon tax.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

We packaged tampons in a book and, thus, sold them with the lower tax rate of 7%. In other words: We outsmarted the law with the law itself. But The Tampon Book is much more than a smart packaging that hacked the German tax system. Stylishly illustrated by artist Ana Curbelo and illustrator Alica Läuger, The Tampon Book contains 45 pages with bold illustrations and empowering stories about menstruation, taboo and feminism and promotes a petition which urges the German parliament to discuss the abolition of the tampon tax. Online as well as offline, we targeted three groups: High-profile politicians with a track record in gender politics, feminist influencers, and feminist women in Germany with an interest in gender issues.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

Nobody likes to deal with taxes, and the German tax law is so complicated that hardly anyone sees through. An unusual idea was needed to show the absurdity of taxing tampons with the highest VAT rate 19%. We decided to outwit the tax law with smart packaging – and the law itself. And we did it by using a German cultural good. The idea could not be simpler: We sold our organic tampons hidden in a book. Because books are deemed important educational material and taxed with only 7% VAT. In addition, they have always been ideal for tackling taboo topics - and for hiding things in them. Online as well as offline, we targeted three groups: High-profile politicians with a track record in gender politics, feminist influencers, and feminist women in Germany with an interest in gender issues.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

The book was sold through The Female Company's online shop - at cost and with the reduced VAT of 7%. The book was launched in April 2019. We promoted it with an film on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube with a tiny budget of 2.787,69 €. We sent 100 copies of The Tampon Book to influencers and journalists, half of which supported the cause and created free buzz. By sending The Tampon Book to relevant politicians, we carried the topic directly into German politics and the Bundestag. 15 volunteers formed a tampon tax task force and directly lobbied politicians over the phone. In every video, Facebook post and Instagram story, we called to sign a petition urging the German Bundestag to overhaul the tampon tax.

List the results (30% of vote)

The Tampon Book was a quick success. The first edition of 1,000 copies sold out within a day, the second edition of 6,000 within a week. When Facebook declared the film too political, we received overwhelming support from followers and influencers sharing the video on other platforms. The video was viewed almost 700,000 times and The Tampon Book generated more than 80 news stories in regional and national print media, TV, radio and online media and reached 9.3 million Germans in traditional media alone. 10 members of the German Bundestag supported the cause and officially invited The Female Company. As a direct result of these meetings, a bill to reduce the tax was introduced into the German Bundestag and debated. In early October Germany’s Minister of Finance gave in and decided tampons and other female sanitary hygiene products will be taxed at the reduced rate from 1 January 2020.