72% of over 50s feel they are stereotyped in advertising
Creative agency AMV BBDO’s winning campaign for TENA used the warm and honest relationship between a mother and her daughter to unflinchingly highlight some of the realities of the menopause in a way never seen before on British TV.
Channel 4’s 2021 brief to the industry was for creative treatments that would challenge ageism in advertising. Research had shown that people over 50 feel vastly misrepresented in the majority of ads, with 72% of those questioned feeling that people their age in adverts were outdated stereotypes.
The story of the campaign
Directed by Shannon Murphy and produced by Lief, AMV BBDO’s ad for TENA told the touching story of a mother and daughter as the mother navigates the menopause. The film leans into the idea that menopause is often spoken about as puberty in reverse – but where puberty gets its manifold tales of rage and becoming, the menopause is left behind.
Drawing on coming of age filmic techniques and tropes, the film extends the beauty and cultural clout of the genre to shine a spotlight on the oft ignored realities of the menopause, to tell a new story, the second coming of age.
“Menopause is a rite of passage yet still an obscure issue for many women, even today. I feel proud to have made something that could help women understand that it’s not something to hide or fear. I’m also incredibly grateful for the talent and openness of the women involved in this project, their stories helped us shape such a necessary, honest, and emotional campaign”.Shannon Murphy, Director
Telling the truth without sugar-coating or catastrophising, the film shows the painfully relatable but rarely-seen-on-tv potential realities of the menopause, from rogue beard hairs and night sweats to hormonal rage, lube-fuelled intimacy, and bladder weakness. The short film is one of the only ads about bladder weakness to actually show urine on screen. It shows the challenges but also the triumphs of this life stage, combatting overwhelmingly negative stereotypes about the menopause that feed the fear of ageing.
“People going through the menopause also deserve their emotionally nuanced coming of age stories of rage, confusion, liberation and becoming. We hope this campaign can reinject humanity and beauty into the life stage, subvert damaging and demeaning stereotypes and help women feel better supported and less alone. We also hope it’ll inspire people to talk to their own loved ones about the menopause – we all know someone going through it, yet we so rarely talk about it. It’s no wonder 1 in 3 feel alone during the menopause.”Lauren Peters and Augustine Cerf, creatives at AMV BBDO
AMV and TENA’s campaign highlights the value of intergenerational conversations in the hope that people will recognise the life stage as valid, interesting, and valuable to discuss. Central to the campaign is a desire to build support and solidarity between menopausal women and those around them. The film ends on an uplifting note, with the daughter asking her mother what the menopause is like. The hope is that viewers will take a moment to stop and ask the women in their lives a similar question, thereby encouraging the passing of knowledge and wisdom so that we all feel better prepared for what’s to come.
AMV’s ad for TENA is a game-changing take on the narrative around the menopause. It perfectly fulfilled our Award brief to tackle ageism in advertising, using the central idea of talking about the menopause as a way of breaking the stigma & silence that exists around it despite the fact half the population will experience it!
Channel 4 exists to create change through entertainment, and we do this by representing unheard voices and challenging society. Through our annual Diversity in Advertising Award we’re committed to keep challenging the advertising industry to reflect all society authentically in their TV ads to ensure that the amazing diversity of the UK is reflected not just in our programming but across our ad breaks too.”Veriça Djurdjevic, Chief Revenue Officer – Channel 4
The award-winning TENA ad is part of a wider campaign devised by AMV BBDO and Ketchum PR that will utilise social content, influencer activity and the Infrequently Asked Questions guide, available on the TENA Women website for download. The guide encourages its readers to ask better – and more – questions about the menopause, and shows the value of doing so. Countering the dry, clinical information typically brought up by any internet search on the topic, it features words of wisdom gathered from women who have been through the menopause, as well as the advice and tips they wish to pass down to those yet to live through it.