Channel 4 is to air Tena’s prize-winning campaign tonight (29 April), as the incontinence brand aims to “create a new narrative” for the menopause and tackle “female ageism”.
Tena won Channel 4’s sixth Diversity in Advertising award in October, which last year asked the marketing industry to create an ad that would challenge ageism in advertising. The brand scooped £1m of free advertising on Channel 4.
Devised by creative agency AMV BBDO, the ‘#LastLonelyMenopause’ campaign highlights some of the realities of the menopause in ways not before seen in British TV advertising.
Directed by Shannon Murphy and produced by Lief, the two-minute film tells the story of a mother and daughter as the mother navigates the menopause. It draws on the idea that the menopause is spoken about as puberty in reverse, and depicts the menopause as the “second coming of age”.
It shows the “painfully relatable” but rarely seen realities of the menopause, from rogue beard hairs and night sweats to hormonal rage and bladder weakness. The ad is one of the only about bladder weakness to show urine on screen.
Tena’s global master brand and communications director, Meta Redstedt, says the brand is “proud” to create a “new narrative” for the menopause, which is hopes will kick off “important conversations” in households across the country.
“Tena is tackling female ageism, presenting a modern perspective on how midlife women live, championing their participation in society, and representation in culture,” she says.
Channel 4’s chief revenue officer Veriça Djurdjevic adds that the ad is a “game-changing” take on the menopause, using the central idea of talking about menopause as a way of “breaking the stigma and silence that exists around it”.
The ad comes as part of a wider campaign, developed with AMV BBDO and Ketchum PR, that will utilise social content, influencer activity and the ‘Infrequently Asked Questions guide’, available on the Tena Women website.
Channel 4’s annual diversity in advertising award offers the winning campaign £1 million worth of commercial airtime across the entire portfolio of channels in Channel 4’s commercial arm 4Sales, including its streaming service All 4.
Originally it was set up to encourage the ad industry to embrace inclusive creative campaigns and extend Channel 4’s leadership in diversity beyond its editorial content and into the ad breaks.
Each year challenges the industry to tackle a different subject. Ageism was chosen for the 2021 competition as research has 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.
“Channel 4 exists to create change through entertainment, and we do this by representing unheard voices and challenging society,” Djurdjevic explains.
“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.”
The ad will launch at 8.10pm tonight. Channel 4 extended this year’s award with a £100,000 digital short form series produced by 4Studio Productions, which is due to launch on 9 May.
This year’s runners up included Hidden Hearing, Baileys, Shelter, and Boots. All five runners up will be offered match funding of up to £250,000 each to encourage the pitched campaigns into production.