GSD&M taxes booze at SXSW to raise awareness on the tampon tax

The Women’s History Month campaign elucidates the extra money women spend on a luxury tax placed on essential feminine hygiene products.

By Sabrina Sanchez from CampaignUS

It’s day three of SXSW, and marketers might be feeling like it’s time for a drink. But if you head to the bar, beware. You may have to pay a tax.

In honor of Women’s History Month, agency GSD&M and Omniwomen, Omnicom’s female leaders network, have set out to raise awareness on the tampon tax — a luxury tax placed on menstrual products.

The Bloody Mary Misogyny campaign invites people to a bar launched at Monday night’s SXSW annual party that includes only two drinks on the menu: The Bloody Mary and The Bloody Marc.

Both drinks are made with identical ingredients, except one is free and the other has a $1 luxury tax.

The taxed drink, The Bloody Mary, represents the “tampon tax” placed on menstrual products in 22 states in the U.S. including Texas. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the estimated $120 million women spend a year just on the sales tax of period products.

“In Texas specifically, we want the community to contact their representatives in support of House Bill 300, which would repeal the tax on period products, as well as items like diapers and wipes,” said Keisha Townsend-Taitt, chief inclusion officer at GSD&M, noting that some people were not even aware the tax still existed.

In addition to the bar, GSD&M launched an interactive microsite,, on March 8 for International Women’s Day to drive people to review where their state stands on the issue. The site was also promoted through a QR code on cups, napkins and menus at the bar.

Other campaign elements include a graphic featuring a yacht and tampon that reads, “When tampons are taxed like yachts, we’re gonna rock the boat. Stop this bloody tax,” as well as a private jet and maxi pad with wings visual that reads: “Just because they both have wings doesn’t mean they’re the same. Stop this bloody tax.”

Earlier this month, House Bill 300 was proposed in Texas to repeal the tax this spring. Governor Greg Abbott previously signaled his support for repealing the tax, but any change in taxation must pass through state Congress first.

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