If you’re squeamish about discussing periods – this post probably isn’t the post for you, because today we’re talking Tampon Tax. Don’t worry, I won’t show any graphic pictures, but we’re going to be talking about it so I thought I’d let you know upfront (although if that’s the case – did you read the title!?!).
Any certified vagina owner knows periods suck (okay this isn’t a fact, but have you ever met anybody who disagrees?). Up to 80% of people with periods experience symptoms such as acne, tender breasts, tiredness and irritability, however, symptoms can be as extreme as menstrual psychosis. Yet in multiple countries, hygiene products for periods are currently taxed as luxury products, this is commonly referred to as The Tampon Tax.
Today I was in Tesco when I came across this sign about Tampon Tax:
I immediately took a picture, saying to my friend ‘I’m going to Tweet about this later. Don’t you think this is the sweetest marketing campaign? It’s so nice to see big corporations caring about the customer.’ Then the cynical side of me kicked in. By paying Tampon Tax themselves, Tesco makes less profit. Surely as a for-profit organisation, this doesn’t make sense? Is this nothing more than a marketing campaign? A quick search on Twitter shows numerous news outlets covering this story when Tesco announced it. Here I am writing a blog post about it that I will then promote to thousands of people – they’re definitely getting coverage from this.
The increasing public outrage against Tampon Tax over the past few years suggests this topic is close to the hearts of an increasing percentage of the population. If a consumer feels a brand’s values are similar to their own they are more likely to choose this brand over others. The brand agreeing with consumer’s values reassures them they are right, reinforcing feelings of self-worth and consequently self-esteem. This in turn positively reinforces customers shopping at Tesco, making them more likely to shop there rather than other Supermarkets. With most popular Supermarkets having very few differences between them, differentiating themselves from others becomes particularly important. Put more simply, acting in a way that consumers find ethical increases customer loyalty.
Consumers don’t like being advertised to, so covert advertising campaigns can often be more effective than overt ones. This is because consumers inherently distrust advertisements. If this is a campaign, it doesn’t initially appear like one. Rather, it appears as though Tesco are simply doing something nice for the consumer which lowers the levels of distrust as consumers don’t feel they’re being sold something. Additionally, this makes the customer feel as though Tesco has done something for them thus they feel grateful – as though they owe something to Tesco. These feelings may then make it more likely Tesco is the consumer’s Supermarket of choice in the future.
What do you think? Is Tesco simply fulfilling their social responsibility and standing up for something they believe in? Or is this just a clever marketing campaign?