A mother and her teenage daughter navigate menopause together in a film for incontinence protection brand Tena that won the prestigious Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising competition.
The competition brief this year was to tackle aging. Tena's film leans into the idea that menopause is often spoken about as puberty in reverse. Yet while we hear lots about adolescent hormones and rages, menopausal systems are less well known or spoken about.
The film, created by AMV BBDO and directed by Shannon Murphy at Leif, depicts the daughter dealing with her own hormonal changes as the mom undergoes stormy emotions, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and "pelvic floor betrayals." The latter makes Tena one of the only advertisers to illustrate bladder weakness by showing urine on screen, according to the company.
Finally, "one day it all ends," the mother says before the film concludes with a call to action to make this the "#lastlonelymenopause."
“People going through the menopause also deserve their emotionally nuanced coming of age stories of rage, confusion, liberation and becoming," said Lauren Peters and Augustine Cerf, creatives at AMV BBDO, in a joint statement. "We hope this campaign can re-inject 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 one in three feel alone during the menopause.”
Veriça Djurdjevic, chief revenue officer at Channel 4, described the ad as "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," she said.
Channel 4's Diversity in Advertsing award is now in its sixth year. The award offers the winning campaign £1 million worth of commercial airtime across the entire portfolio of channels in Channel 4’s commercial arm 4Sales. Previous briefs have tackled disability, Black and ethnic minority culture, the portrayal of women and LGBTQ+ communities. Last year's winner was Adam&Eve/DDB's campaign for FIFA 21 about a Muslim soccer team. This is AMV BBDO's second win; it also won in 2016 with a campaign for Maltesers that showed disabled people in comedic situations.
For the first time this year Channel 4 has extended its award with a digital short form series, which will show older and younger people talking about the menopause in revealing, frank and funny exchanges. The company is already a trailblazer in confronting taboos around menopause. In 2019 it launched the UK media industry’s first dedicated Menopause Policy, while TV show "Sex Myths and the Menopause with Davina McCall" aired last year and has had more than three million views.
Meanwhile, the wider Tena campaign, devised by AMV BBDO and Ketchum PR, will include social content, influencer activity and an "Infrequently Asked Questions" guide, available on the Tena Women website for download.