Triggered by the billboard above? There’s a hotline for that.
Joan London, the new U.K. office of Joan Creative, just released its first creative campaign, which the agency says reflects the bold, rebellious DNA of the mother ship. Created for body-care startup Luna Daily, the campaign features eye-catching out-of-home ads that prominently feature the word “VULVA” in all caps—and then direct anyone made uncomfortable by the word to call a “therapy hotline” to try to get more comfortable with it.
Those in the U.K. can call the hotline at 0800-233-LUNA (from the U.S., you can call 1-888-83-VULVA) to engage with a prerecorded “therapy session” that uses techniques and principles from so-called “exposure therapy”—which involves confronting that which you fear.
Joan worked with celebrity psychotherapist expert Annabelle Knight on the hotline. The creative is lighthearted and fun, but the mission is serious.
“It is laced with humor, laugh-out-loud moments that make you want to listen to more,” Kirsty Hathaway, executive creative director at Joan London, told Ad Age of the hotline script. “We say the world vulva over 60 times. But we iterate this is not replacement for therapy, but a sprint course designed to kick start people on their journey to feeling good about the world vulva.”
The hotline begins with “creating realistic beliefs—showing that nothing bad happens if you use the word vulva,” Hathaway said. “We lean on systematic desensitization, where we associate the word vulva with pleasant, calming scenarios. Built on graded exposure therapy, we start with simple tasks and work our way up to more confronting tasks, where you have to say the word vulva out loud.”
Various campaigns over the years have addressed this same squeamishness—including, of course, the celebrated Libresse film “Viva La Vulva” by AMV BBDO in 2018. Hathaway said it was important for this new campaign not just to make people realize they may be uncomfortable with the word—“It’s just another body part, after all,” she said—but to take it a step further.
“We did extensive research and landed on exposure therapy as an actual resolve,” she said. “The Joan team were great case studies for the power of the idea. Throughout working with Luna Daily and on this campaign, we were all entirely desensitized to the word vulva.”
Joan worked with typography artist Raissa Pardini on a custom font for the outdoor ads, balancing the need for the word to be legible but also “modern, bold and fresh,” said Hathaway. The right color palette was critical, too. “Most campaigns aimed at women’s health are pink and pastel,” she said. “We wanted to stand out. Not be feminine. Not be masculine. Being bold and eye-catching was our mission.”
Hathaway said the effort is a great first project for Joan London, as the office looks to expand on the 7-year-old agency’s tradition of fresh, disruptive work.
“The first campaign Joan London put out had to live and breathe this ethos,” she said. “Being able to challenge societal norms and do so with great thinking, great creative and great craft was our mission. Luna Daily are the perfect client, as they mean it when they say they want to drive change.”