Communicate spoke with Salma Shahin, Senior Account Manager at Impact BBDO, to learn how marketers should approach the challenge of breaking traditional stigma.
TENA, the worldwide leader in incontinence products launched a regional campaign last month to remove the stigma associated with menopause and suggest a new phrase in place of the term “Age of Despair”. The term ‘Age of Despair’ has been used to describe menopause over generations, and TENA’s survey has revealed that an overwhelming majority of women would prefer a new and more positive phrase to define this physical and psychological stage of a women’s life. Communicate spoke with Salma Shahin, Impact BBDO Senior Account Manager, to learn more about the campaign and the challenges that come with breaking traditional stigma.
How should marketers approach the challenge of breaking traditional stigma through a campaign? What kind of pointers should they keep in mind?
The biggest pointer is to ensure marketers and agencies find a balance between talk and action. Conversation around empowerment has to be backed by credible action that drives long-lasting change.
Many brands will jump on a bandwagon by talking about issues, without the intention of acting upon them. Marketers must not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk. With the TENA Despair No More campaign, we’ve actually taken the time to research and survey the matter with Saudi women, proving that this was a topic of note for many women. We then proceeded to take steps to involve the public in how we talk about menopause.
What challenges can they expect to face along the way?
Breaking traditional stigma is difficult to achieve overnight. Changes takes time. With that said, when a brand enters the realm of social conversation in a public forum, they must prepare to face different point of views. Inevitably, there will always be a sliver of society that is heavily rooted to their traditions. For this reason, it is important to have data that supports the desire for the change in question.
Tell me about the campaign. What kind of challenges did you face while creating the campaign?
The idea stemmed from a cultural truth within the Arab region, that ‘Age of Despair’ has been used for generations to describe ‘menopause’ in Arabic. It’s become a part of the language – both in conversation and within the medical community. While its use is prevalent in society, it is something that women want to change and replace with a more positive phrase. As women across the Arab world are becoming more vocal about social change and reaching new heights of success, we believe there is no better time to ignite a conversation and drive a change in perception for menopausal women.
It is no longer and has never been the Age of Despair – it is an age for her to define. Moreover, to go the extra mile, we worked hard to find an all-women crew to bring this campaign to life – from the creative team, to our director, our singer Ghalia, and all production partners – art director, stylist, calligraphy artist, song writer, etc. We wanted to stay genuine, truthful, and as candid as possible – seeing that the very core of the campaign was built on a societal truth, we needed to extend that with every creative choice.
Moreover, TENA has always upheld the value of being as a real and raw as it gets for women with menopause, and incontinence. Therefore, we took the cautious decision to highlight the stories of real women – not cast – we searched the Arab world for women above the age of 45 who are harnessing creativity and productivity through different hobbies, vocations, and passions. This was the biggest challenge we faced. Our women were hand-picked to represent various types of Arab women, and who told a unique story through their craft. Every element selected in our film was firstly a choice made by the real women as it related to their craft. From a visual and creative perspective, we wanted to seamlessly bring to life the single-minded message of changing perception, with that came the visual technique of seeing our TENA women destroy the elements of despair and using their skills to create a new piece with positive language, that accurately represent their lives and resonate with them.
What did you learn from creating this campaign from an advertising perspective?
There’s always something new to learn from every campaign. With the TENA Despair No More campaign - which was quite close to our hearts as women leading on the campaign – the biggest learning was understanding how consumers truly appreciate work with purpose behind it. The TENA brand equity campaign is not about selling products, our main driver was to connect with our consumers on a level that would truly matter to them. Being able to create work with purpose, intention and based on societal insight has definitely reaped its rewards – we’ve seen high levels of engagement, women spreading the message and influencers who weren’t even part our campaign sharing our content and spreading the importance of our campaign message.
In a nutshell, when and if you can, drill down to what really matters to your consumer. It’s not just about creating an ad with a person and a place that looks relatable and familiar. If you can get to the heart of what people really care about, you’ll get everyone’s attention.