Using tampons to outsmart the tax system, entirely legally

How The Female Company became a political player through a book on tampons

Using tampons to outsmart the tax system, entirely legally

Caviar, truffles and even oil paintings: in Germany, many luxury goods are granted a reduced tax rate of seven per cent. Tampons, however, are subject to the top VAT rate of 19 per cent. The founders of the online shop The Female Company don’t just sell feminine hygiene products; they instead take action against this discriminatory taxation as well.

In the process, they have kicked off a societal debate for which we as an agency want to generate awareness that will help the public at large to see new ways of thinking.


Using laws to outsmart the law

Our idea: sell organic tampons packaged in a book – and thereby outsmart tax law through its own regulations. As a lower tax rate applies for books, we can thus sell these tampons at the lower tax rate of seven per cent.Offering 45 pages of provocative illustrations and empowering content on the topic of menstruation, taboos and feminism, the book is more than just really smart packaging, too. On top of all this, it also supports the petition “Die Periode ist kein Luxus” (A period is not a luxury). And it paid off: the initiators’ aim of forcing the German Bundestag to take up the issue of eliminating the tax on tampons was a success and achieved well over the required 150,000 signatures.


First print run sold out

The first print run of 1,000 copies of The Tampon Book sold out nearly immediately. Though originally planned as a one-off promotion, The Tampon Book was so successful that The Female Company had to have further print runs. The case film registered more than 10.5 million views on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Mainstream media outlets like RTL and ProSieben/Sat.1 even took up the story and cross-regional newspapers like the F.A.Z. as well as nearly all German-speaking feminist-oriented blogs reported on The Tampon Book.