Libresse Malaysia’s “offensive” advertising campaign was Ad Of The Year on YouTube.
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French artist Edgar Degas once said that art is not what you see, but what you make others see.
Unfortunately, what others see is sometimes deemed offensive.
Case in point, this post by Malaysian lawyer and politician Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud:
Are you offended? Because I sure am not. https://t.co/wqZ2em0ipA— dyana sofya (@dyanasmd) September 18, 2021
In her retweet of another user by the name Valaerys which shows the “offending” artwork, the former political secretary to the Democratic Action Party (DAP) said she was not offended by it.
What the artwork is referring to is part of feminine hygiene brand Libresse Malaysia and its campaign “Know Your V” that was launched last year and meant to break taboos of “getting to know your vagina”.
The ad won for “Best Ad in Personal Care & Health” at YouTube Works, an awards platform for YouTube advertisements for the most creative, compelling and effective campaigns.
But why is it trending nearly a year after?
It seems the YADIM Muslim Women’s Council (MAYA) has finally caught wind of the ad and have taken to their social media to call Libresse Malaysia out.
Their statement has since gone viral with the image of the statement widely circulated online.
In a post made on Thursday (16 September), Dr Safinar Salleh, chairperson for MAYA, addressed Libresse Malaysia to say the image of the women’s private part on the brands’ advertisement designs are considered “exploitation of women’s bodies”.
Dr Safinar continues to say the promotion undermines the dignity of women, degrades them and also violates the norms of decency in Malaysian society.
Displaying the vulva motif openly on clothing, packages, bags, origami and other items, is not acceptable in our culture nor allowable according to our religious values.Dr Safinar Salleh, Chairperson, YADIM Muslim Women’s Council
She then urged Libresse Malaysia to withdraw the campaign from all channels of print, digital and social media.
Libresse Malaysia react
Libresse has responded with a post on their Instagram made a day after MAYA’s appeal:
They write, “As an inclusive brand we value every voice, we are actively engaging with the community members who expressed their views and shared their advice with us.”
Although the issue was settled a couple of days ago, Netizens are clearly still riled up.
One Netizen said they’d choose Libresse Malaysia’s packaging over these ads any day:
While one joked how those objecting the campaign cannot eat nasi kerabu because of its resemblance to the bunga telang (clitoria ternatea):
Orang against Libresse’s packaging tak boleh makan Nasi Kerabu. Sebab nasi dia guna bunga Clitoria Ternatae. 😉 pic.twitter.com/mWoauXSUgx— pandemieks (@m_iekks) September 19, 2021
And then there were those who joked about the brand’s ingenious marketing:
Libresse marketing team : pic.twitter.com/gnHeo8xtAV— SIKUMBANG (@SikumbangTv) September 19, 2021
Congratulations to libresse marketing team though, they got people talking— timah (@timah29) September 19, 2021
Former advertising mad woman - turned mother to an amazing little girl born 3 months early - and now a returned writer. Also a textbook ambivert with no clue about today's pop music but a walking encyclopedia of music from the 80s and 90s.