Libresse campaign smashes taboos with joyous ode to vulvas

No woman should feel ashamed of her vulva, the ad says.

Libresse, known as Bodyform in the UK, has broken another taboo in advertising with a campaign celebrating vulvas in all their shapes and sizes.

"Viva la vulva" has been released initially in Sweden and Denmark. It was created by Caio Giannella and Diego de Oliveira at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and directed by Kim Gehrig through Somesuch.  

The three-minute film, set to the track Take Yo Praise, shows a series of colourful objects resembling female genitals – including a grapefruit, conch shell and fortune cookie – and singing along to the lyrics. There are also shots of women examining their private parts and dancing.

It promotes Libresse’s intimate shower gels while bringing attention to the fact that women and girls are often made to feel insecure about their vulvas. Girls as young as nine are requesting labiaplasty, a surgery to shorten or reshape the lips of the vagina, according to reports by the BBC. 

"Girls will sometimes come out with comments like ‘I just hate it, I just want it removed’," Dr Naomi Crouch, a leading adolescent gynecologist, told the BBC last year.

Libresse/Bodyform, owned by Essity, has become known for its bold advertising championing positive body image for women. Last year, the feminine-care company was the first UK advertiser to depict real menstrual blood instead of the blue liquid that usually stands in for it. The campaign, created by AMV, included a graphic novel, specially designed period underwear and a range of pad-shaped lilos. 

In 2016, Bodyform’s "Red.Fit" ad, also by AMV, featured women getting into bloody scrapes while playing sports and ended with the tagline: "No blood should hold us back."