Eurobest

The Tampon Book: a book against tax discrimination

SCHOLZ & FRIENDS, Berlin / THE FEMALE COMPANY / 2019

Awards:

2 Grand Prix Eurobest
5 Gold Eurobest
2 Silver Eurobest
1 Bronze Eurobest
3 Shortlisted Eurobest
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Overview

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Credits

Overview

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.

Idea

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.

Strategy

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.

Execution

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.

Outcome

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.

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2 Cannes Lions Awards
The Tampon Book: a book against tax discrimination

SCHOLZ & FRIENDS, Berlin

The Tampon Book: a book against tax discrimination

2022, THE FEMALE COMPANY

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