Why This Fake Cereal Is Going Viral

There's nothing weird about menstrual blood. In fact, half of the women on this planet are of childbearing age, per UNICEF. But that doesn't mean they want to walk around with menstrual blood on their pants. Products such as pads, tampons, and cups offer menstruators the freedom to go about their lives without advertising their ability to carry a baby in their wombs, a topic many would prefer to keep private.

Yet one in four reproductive-age women in the U.S. lacks access to feminine care products. And for many, it all comes down to money, per a public service announcement cleverly dressed as a cereal ad, which is intended to raise awareness about the issue. If you think hunger is a problem — and clearly, it is — consider that while food stamps cover food, they don't cover products such as pads and tampons.

This situation is known as "period poverty;" many people must choose between going hungry and walking around with period blood on their clothing. If you weren't already aware of the issue, it's probably because period poverty is, by its nature, socially isolating. It can lead to missed school, job absenteeism, and an assortment of other "physical and mental hardships," according to Elaine Cox, executive creative director at 72andSunny New York, the creative agency that spearheaded the multi-party effort that resulted in the now-viral "ad campaign" for a fictional cereal that comes with pads and tampons in the box (per AdAge).

Loopholes: fake cereal that's inspiring real talk

Period poverty "is not just an issue for those of us who menstruate," as Elaine Cox outlined in a statement (via AdAge). There's no way that the disruption of the education, careers, and personal lives of menstruators on the planet would impact them alone. Spoiler alert: Period poverty is an "everyone problem."

The solution offered by Loopholes? A breakfast cereal that comes with a prize at the bottom in the form of a month's worth of tampons and pads (per AdWeek). "It's that time of the month, and money's looking tight, choosing food or tampons — it's a common plight," the ad's jingle presents as the prologue to its call for action, continuing, "The government helps people buy food with SNAP, but no one's helping us buy tampons. They don't give a crap."

As the jingle goes on to explain, "Since the cereal is food, SNAP will pay the price." Because, apparently, in our "unbalanced society," as the ad characterizes it, this deft workaround of hiding the products in foods that are covered by food stamps is one of the only ways to currently support people lacking the financial means to purchase those products.

And that call to action? "Demand legislation" in the form of the Menstrual Equity for All Act, which demands affordable access to pads and tampons. The ad, while fake, provides real links to advocacy groups such as Ignite, and a "toolkit" for raising awareness.