THE TAMPON BOOK: A BOOK AGAINST TAX DISCRIMINATION

Short List
ClientTHE FEMALE COMPANY
Category B06. Media Relations
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 PR?

We connected our product – tampons – with a relevant social discourse and used influencers, politicians and journalist to spread our political message. In other words: We made buying our product a political statement.

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 an original idea that allowed them 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.

Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)

The topic “tampon tax” is well known amongst feminists but not so much among the majority of German women – but it is perceived as interesting and relevant by virtually all women. But how could we spread the word? We used feminist influencers to reach mass media in order to spread our key message “Sign our petition to get rid of the tampon tax”. Since our packaging became a tool to hack the sexist German tax system, we made buying our product a political statement. Since we did not have any media money, there was no media planning. We did, however, research the feminist digital scene for weeks in order to find the most promising influencers, who would share our story. And this with success: More than half of the feminist influencers we had contacted decided to share our story and our call to action for absolutely free.

Describe the PR execution (20% 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. 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 100 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.