Holland & Barrett wins TfL diversity competition with campaign aiming to break the ‘taboo’ around the menopause

The retailer won £500,000 of prominent ad outdoor ad space across London with a campaign focused on the most difficult aspects women face during the menopause.

Holland & Barrett has won Transport for London’s (TfL) diversity competition with an advertising campaign that aims to break the taboo around the menopause.

The campaign, created by Pablo, features five real women who are all experiencing the menopause in different ways. Running under the strapline ‘Me.No.Pause’, it focuses on the loss of femininity, identity and self that can be some of the most difficult aspects of the menopause.

Holland & Barrett’s, CMO Caroline Hipperson, says: “Raising awareness of menopause is something we feel very passionate about at Holland & Barrett. It feels like the ‘last taboo’ topic that people still don’t talk about openly, but it is such a natural part of life and something all women will experience! By partnering with City Hall and TfL we will now be able to convey this message on over 31 million journeys.”

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The campaign will explore a variety of menopause experiences, including perimenopause, early menopause, and handling the menopause alongside cancer or while managing a disability. It is fronted by TV presenter Andrea McLean, who experienced early menopause after battling endometriosis and an emergency hysterectomy.

Holland & Barrett will be bringing its campaign in-store to offer help to women experiencing the menopause. Store staff have been trained to give health advice and suggest natural remedies.

It will also be pushing the campaign out more widely using PR, social, digital and content marketing, as well as an online film that will go live on 9 February, voiced by actress Sally Phillips.

“We hope this campaign will give all these amazing women the confidence to talk about what they are going through and seek advice or tips on how to alleviate any symptoms if needed. We are taking this seriously in store too; we have invested in training for all our store colleagues on the topic so we hope women experiencing the menopause come in and speak to us,” adds Hipperson.

The competition is a reaction to ‘The Women We See’ research, carried out by University College London, which found that Londoners do not feel represented by the ads they see. More than 80 campaigns were submitted to TfL and City Hall, with Holland & Barrett’s chosen for its commitment to featuring all types of women and surfacing an issue previously thought of as taboo both among advertisers and the general public.

Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport, says: “[Holland & Barrett’s] Me.No.Pause campaign is a positive and empowering message that shows the brand’s commitment to capturing the diversity of the women in our city. We want today’s campaign launch on TfL’s advertising network to encourage other brands to tackle the way we represent women in advertising, ensuring that women at the heart of London’s success, are given the representation they deserve.”

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The competition is sponsored by TfL’s media partners Exterion Media and JCDecaux. TfL’s customer director Chris Macleod praised an “impressive array of entries” that made it hard to pick Holland & Barrett as the winner and Mothercare as the runner-up.

Macleod adds: “The competition was tough with a range of impressive entries, with each one considering the importance of gender and diversity. It was heartening to see how brands had embraced the challenge and I hope that this competition will continue to drive widespread change in the industry.”

Mothercare was named runner-up and will receive £50,000 of digital advertising space for its campaign celebrating mothers. It will go on display across the TfL network later this year.