Written by on . Pegasus.

Campaign focus: Breaking the menopause taboo

Senior Account Director, Vicky Flannigan reflects on a campaign that for her perfectly summed up why she got into health communications in the first place.

When we were asked by Holland & Barrett to launch a Menopause awareness campaign, Me.No.Pause, backed by City Hall and Transport for London celebrating diversity in advertising to women, to say our team was excited would have been an understatement.

The campaign creative, devised by Pablo London was selected from over 80 campaign submissions in the #BehindEveryGreatCity initiative. Backed by the Mayor of London, It was chosen for its commitment to featuring all types of women on a national stage, to surface an issue that has previously been viewed as a taboo among both advertisers and the general public.

The prize was £600,000 of free media space across the London transport network, meaning that these real images of women would be hugely prominent throughout our campaign.

The narrative was simple: women are sick of seeing tired images of menopause plastered across our TV screens: women of a certain age playing tennis, experiencing dramatised mood swings, or simply not talking about Menopause at all.

The campaign, running with the headline “Me.No.Pause” focuses on one of the most difficult aspects women face during the menopause: the loss of femininity, identity and self. The campaign shows women asserting their identity and purpose despite the challenges of menopause, however tough it can be.

At the centre of the campaign stood five inspirational case studies of women tackling the menopause in their own unique ways. We presented these shocking but very real examples of women handling perimenopause, menopause alongside cancer, menopause in a gender fluid person, and menopause with all the extra complications of managing a disability.

We launched these stories in an intimate Menopause Café event at Palm Vaults in London, fronted by Andrea McLean, who experienced early menopause after battling with endometriosis and an emergency hysterectomy. And while I’ve been involved with many events at Pegasus over the past eight years, this is the first one which saw several journalists crying at the honest and inspirational content.

Since then, we’ve covered just about every ‘taboo’ subject as we’ve worked with journalists to get the message out about our campaign. We’ve talked lack of sex drive, loss of identity, alienation from your friends, and if I had a pound for every time I’d uttered the words ‘vaginal dryness’, I’d be set for life by the time this campaign is complete.

It’s also been an amazing chance to profile Holland & Barrett’s corporate positioning as a retailer that truly stands for something. A mission-based brand that takes the opinions of its customers seriously, and doesn’t shy away from the presentation of real people, and real health issues, however difficult they may be to talk about. We’ve had over 250 mentions of the campaign, and we’re still working to tell these stories every day.

But for me, there’s been two real highlights of our involvement in the campaign. The first has been watching our case studies’ reactions as they see the national media support of their stories, many of which they’d never shared before, even to their friends.

The second has been receiving messages from friends and family snapping pictures of the inspirational campaign images out on their travels.  Being involved in a campaign which celebrates diversity and profiles women who you don’t get to see every day on billboards and in national newspapers: that’s a pretty great reason to come to work.

You can find out more about Holland & Barrett’s inspirational Me.No.Pause campaign here.