We’re all familiar with the delicate sidestepping that comes with advertising ‘awkward’ products. There’s the weird blue liquid, the smooth-skinned women that still feel the need to shave and, of course, the legion of women delighted to be having an ‘oops’ moment. Tena, we’re looking at you.
The fact that we can laugh about adland’s love of euphemisms is an encouraging sign that things are changing, however. Libresse embraced real-looking blood, Billie showed us actual body hair, and now Elvie – the brand bringing some much-needed innovation to women’s health tech – is taking a long hard look at our attitudes towards pelvic floor health.
The brand’s #freefrompee campaign for its pelvic trainer foregoes the genteel approach we’re used to, instead tackling the subject via the medium of animation. In a trio of three films we follow main character Bobo and her faithful sidekick Bladder as they embark on adventures including running for the bus, and going to Trampoline Land and Giggle Planet. It’s all banging 80s soundtrack and superhero-style action, until Bladder kills the mood by peeing itself.
It’s unexpected, and admittedly a little jarring to start with. But what makes Elvie’s campaign so refreshing is the direct way it deals with things, and how much fun it brings to subject that might seem taboo, but is relatable for huge numbers of people.
The brand reports that the issue affects one in three women, and two thirds of them don’t feel comfortable mentioning it to friends or family. Worryingly, 40% feel too embarrassed to discuss it with their doctor, meaning 72% of women never seek treatment. Elvie’s attempt to break this silence seem bonkers, but it just might work.
Illustration: Odile Brée