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How GenM and Propaganda changed patronizing portrayals of menopause


By Awards Analyst, writer

June 15, 2022 | 4 min read

GenM and Propoganda won in the B2B Integrated category at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2022. Here, we find out more about what went into their successful project...

Formed by two women unwilling to put up with the invisibility of menopause, GenM initially engaged Propaganda in 2021 to help the organization gain traction. From patronizing portrayals to a lack of awareness, products, services and support for menopause, GenM aims to improve things for the UK’s 15.5 million menopausal women and those in transition.

The brief

After commissioning a study in 2020, GenM founders Heather Jackson and Sam Simister wanted to change menopause perceptions. Among many shocking statistics, the research highlighted that 87% of menopausal women felt overlooked by society and brands, while 90% found it negatively impacted their working lives. Mired with taboo and stigma, there was also a huge knowledge gap with only half of women able to name more than three of the 48 menopause symptoms.

The brief was simple: create a sustainable and commercial brand built on a purpose, accelerate business growth, increase brand awareness and help GenM improve the menopause experience

The idea

Propaganda’s research showed that GenM already held a unique position as one of the only organizations willing to engage businesses. Alongside its consumer efforts, GenM impacted companies not just from a workplace perspective, but also championing the brands that cater to the menopause audience.

Propaganda recommended that GenM switch from primarily targeting consumers to become the professional menopause body for brands. The strategy aimed to disrupt the conversation around menopause and take ownership of a unique area of menopause – engaging brands rather than consumers and creating urgency among brands as they saw their competitors join the movement.

When relaunching GenM, Propaganda published an advert in The Guardian, supported by an integrated campaign across PR and social. Styled as an open letter speaking directly to businesses, the advert explains why the menopause market couldn’t continue being ignored and underserved, and why catering to it is a smart business opportunity for responsible brands.

Complimenting the open letter was a comprehensive national press campaign and, to bolster momentum, Propaganda also created individual press releases supporting GenM’s partnerships with some of its partners (Marks & Spencer, Holland & Barrett), aimed at the relevant sector press.

Working in collaboration with David Salmon, a widower who made headlines for speaking out on how menopause led to his wife’s suicide, Propaganda crafted a campaign to raise awareness of menopause’s visible and invisible symptoms.

The results

Propaganda secured 55 GenM Partner brands, including JP Morgan, Co-op, Royal Mail, WW, Diaverum and Holland & Barrett, and delivered a sustainable business model that represented £370k of first-year income, which projected to £850k revenue over the lifetime of the contracts.

The total PR reach was over 142.5 million since October 2021, including coverage in Forbes, The Times, Marie Claire, Daily Express, You (Mail on Sunday), Times Radio and BBC Look North.

Total social media reach since September 2021 came in over 800,000, with engagements totaling over 890,000 and 174% increase in followers.

And UK Google searches for menopause symptoms increased by 49% during the week Propaganda secured coverage for GenM’s symptoms awareness campaign on BBC Look North, BBC Radio Leeds, PR Week, The Drum and Campaign.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2022. You can see all the winners here.

And check out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.

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