Pick of the Week: Bodyform shines spotlight on women’s pain

#PainStories is the latest taboo-busting campaign from Bodyform.

#PainStories: campaign tackles the 'gender pain gap'
#PainStories: campaign tackles the 'gender pain gap'

I’ve been a big fan of Bodyform’s campaigns since 2017’s “Blood normal”, when it depicted real menstrual blood instead of the blue liquid that usually stands in for it. 

The Essity brand followed that with 2018’s “Viva la vulva”, an ode to vulvas in all their shapes and sizes and an instant advertising classic. Then last year’s “#WombStories” took a more candid look at some of the complex experiences that come with wombs and vulvas, from the menopause to miscarriage to uncomfortable periods. 

Bodyform’s advertising has been important for helping to bring more taboo subjects out into the open and giving a platform to stories that often go unheard. Its latest attempt to do that coincides with Endometriosis Awareness Month: #PainStories tackles the “gender pain gap” and shines a light on women’s experiences of pain, with a focus on endometriosis – a condition that affects one in 10 women of reproductive age but often takes years to diagnose. 

The activation includes a “Pain Dictionary”, which creates a new visual language to describe pain, and a “Pain Museum”, which shares personal stories and information from experts about endometriosis and other conditions. You might wonder about the appeal of a museum dedicated to pain, but I’ve heard from multiple women how powerful they found this work for putting a spotlight on their experiences, which have often been suffered in silence. Until you learn how to articulate your pain, you may struggle to get the support you need, and Bodyform has provided practical tools to help many more women on this journey. 

Client Tanja Grubner, femcare global marketing and communications director at Essity
Agencies Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and Ketchum
Creatives Augustine Cerf and Lauren Peters

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