Hair and beauty booking service Treatwell has teamed up with Public Health England, to bring the conversation about cervical screening into salons and encourage more women to book a smear test.
The 'Life Saving Wax' initiative marks the first time Public Health England has partnered with a beauty brand, and will see 500 Treatwell-listed salons in England use the unique relationship between beauty therapists and their customers to break down the barriers and myths around cervical screening appointments.
Salons across the country will be directing women to where they can find further information, support, tips and advice on how to make screening more comfortable, as well as offering information to take away to share with friends and family.
The campaign is based on the insight that while two women a day die from cervical cancer in England, the number attending their cervical screening is at a 20-year low and continuing to decline; especially in the 25 to 34-year-old age bracket. Research indicates this is due to a number of barriers, including lack of knowledge about the testing process, its purpose, fear that it might be painful, feeling embarrassed and not being able to find the time.
By comparison, the number of women engaging in intimate waxing treatments in England is increasing. Fresh research from Treatwell has found that 90% of women aged 25 to 34 maintain their pubic hair in some way and approximately 1.2 million women in this age group are heading to beauty salons to do so.
As such, physical assets placed in supporting beauty shops will encourage customers who book in for waxes and other treatments, to consider booking a cervical screening appointment.
Social media ads from Treatwell and Public Health England will also run alongside a dedicated digital hub on the Treatwell website that will encourage women to look after themselves on the inside just as they do on the outside by making an informed choice on whether to attend their screening when invited.
Developed by creative agency Proud Robinson & Partners, in collaboration with sister PR agency Freuds, ‘Life Saving Wax’ is being supported by media medic and Gladiators star Dr Zoe Williams, as well as influencers like Cara De La Hoyde.
The campaign forms part of Public Health England's wider 'Cervical Screening Saves Lives' campaign which was launched earlier this year and marked a first for the government-run body.
"When we heard that women feel embarrassed about attending screening, or that they don’t know enough about what cervical screening is for, it really shocked us," said Susan Judge, group head of communications at Treatwell.
"Women’s health means a lot to us and so we wanted to use our position as a business engaging with thousands of women in the UK every day, to speak to women directly in environments in which they are more likely to engage. By talking more about this important topic, we can remove the stigma and embarrassment around screening and can ultimately save lives."