Are you game for talking taboo?
We’ve noticed something over the last few years. Health concerns and bodily functions once considered taboo subjects are now, finally and thankfully, being talked about.
Let’s start with menstruation products, such as sanitary pads, for women. Ad campaigns have long consisted of blue liquid being gently poured on fluffy white pads with happy women frolicking in tight fitting white jeans. Similarly our conversations have been sanitised with women speaking in hushed tones about their ‘time of the month’ and periods being treated as if it’s an illness rather than a natural function.
But this is finally starting to change.
In 2015 a musician called Kiran Gandhi ran the London Marathon without a pad or tampon, crossing the finishing line with a clear red stain on her leggings. Later on, artist Rupi Kaur posted an image of herself on Instagram with a clear stain on her sheets and pants. For some reason this image was taken down by administrators twice, but it had already been shared globally. Now ad agencies are starting to wake up to this menstruation revolution.
Pelvic floor problems
Pelvic floor problems affect up to 70% of new mothers and one in three women, but it’s yet another taboo subject with many manufacturers discussing them in an apologetic way and adopting discreet marketing campaigns. In this space Elvie, which has developed a pelvic floor trainer and breast pump, is trying to turn into an inspirational household name by working on public perception with humorous adverts and a sleek design.
Elvie founder and CEO Tania Boler confirms this approach. “Our brand ethos is to get people talking about what have previously been taboo topics,” she says. “I wanted to give [women] the same experience they would expect from any other premium tech company, regardless of gender. These are intimate and personal products and I wanted them to look desirable,”
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Another rarely discussed health concern affecting around 12 million people in the UK is IBS.
New research by ASDA Pharmacy suggests that this number could be much higher but there is reluctance from sufferers to speak out and seek help about this hidden disability, also coined the ‘Poo Taboo’ by the IBS Network.
In a bid to open up conversation about the taboo subject, last year ASDA hosted a series of digestive health events in-store to provide easy-to-understand advice and tips that people can conveniently take away with them whilst they’re in for their weekly shop. There are also journalist activists using their public platforms to encourage discussion (#breakthepootaboo) and the signing of petitions lobbying the NHS to take IBS more seriously.
Do you work with a ‘taboo’ health concern or product? Need help working out the best way to talk to patients about it? Here at IDS Media UK we have a team of dedicated copywriters and account managers to help you devise the best in class, direct to patient marketing campaigns. If you’d like to discuss anything about your next campaign, enhancing a current one, or any of the tips above, don’t hesitate to contact us.