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Problem Solved #13: A lesson in tackling bloody taboos from Bodyform

Problem Solved #13: A lesson in tackling bloody taboos from Bodyform

To mark the launch of our new manifesto – setting out The Drum’s editorial mission to help readers solve their problems – we’re christening today Solutions Day on thedrum.com. And to set the tone, over the course of 24 hours our team of worldwide journalists will be spotlighting 24 recent examples of times when our industry demonstrated its remarkable talent for solving problems.

Problem: Periods, pain, and pregnancy – each of them something most women will be confronted with at some point in their lives, in one way or another. However, these topics are still very much taboo for brands and wider society, so how do we destigmatise then?

Solution: ’Womb Stories’ by Bodyform – a strategic, beautifully-shot ad designed to shift the period paradigm with help from real women, animation and a series of stories woven together that got people talking.

Covering IVF treatment, endometriosis cramps, menopausal hot flushes, nipple hairs and first periods, Bodyform’s ’Womb Stories’ has given a voice to the unseen, unspoken and unknown truths about the physical experiences of women everywhere. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Bodyform asked AMV BBDO to build the campaign after it uncovered striking statistics about women’s intimate experiences.

  • 62% of people agreed that women’s health wasn’t spoken about enough, while 40% of women said their mental wellbeing had been impacted as a result of not being able to openly share experiences around issues including miscarriage, fertility and periods.

  • Though the creative team wanted to continue pushing back shame and engendering pride, it also wanted to encompass a reality that was largely ignored.

  • And so, the result was to present the viewer with flame-engulfed apartment of a perimenopausal women; a monster ripping at an endometriosis sufferer’s uterus; a ‘flood gate’ moment following an unexpected sneeze; a woman who has chosen not to have children; and the often-turbulent journey of trying to conceive.

  • The complex, sometimes dual nature of the womb and the mixed emotions it can stir for women at different stages in their life was the ’seed’ for the creative.

  • For its part, Bodyform wanted to start a movement with ‘Womb Stories’. It has been encouraging women to share their own experiences and wants to put the topic on the table for everyone to talk about, and it’s already created a buzz.

Nadja Lossgott and Nicholas Hulley are the executive creative directors behind Bodyform’s latest work. Explaining the solution, Lossgott says: “It’s great that we got to the stage where we were celebrating periods and vulvas, but the truth of the matter is that, sometimes, being a woman – or a person who has a period – is pretty shit.“

She adds: “The complexities in the life of most women are complicated and messy, and that should be acknowledged,” she adds, pointing to issues like IVF, the choice not to bear children and the pain that comes with conditions such as endometriosis.

“We started to think about anthropomorphising the uterus and the ‘womb dwellers’ that live inside it. The womb emerged as a kind of second seat of power that controls women’s bodies. It can be awesome, or the control centre can say ‘I’m going to totally screw up your life today’.”

Read more Problem Solved articles in our Solutions Day hub.

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