Select Page

Taboo-Breaking AMV BBDO & Essity

Essity FemCare, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, are marketers of the ‘Libresse’ brand in Scandinavia, the ‘Bodyform’ brand in the United Kingdom, the Saba brand in the USA, and several other brands that collectively, serve over 100 countries.

Tanja Grubner, Global Marketing & Communications Director of Essity FemCare, stated that the Essity Company’s driving corporate mission is geared to “breaking vagina and vulva taboos so women can live the life they want without fear or shame”. 

As many sociologists, and women’s health care specialists have highlighted, normalising  conversations about female genitalia, are vital for combatting stigmas that lead to social isolation and psychological distress.

And experts in a joint statement issued by The United Nations High Commissioner’s Office in 2019, stated; “Persistently harmful socio-cultural norms, stigmas, misconceptions and taboos around menstruation, continue to lead to exclusion and discrimination of women and girls,” 

1. Essity FemCare, Periodsomnia

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London, UK

Production Company: Somesuch & Co, London, UK

A survey conducted of 10,000 participants across 11 markets by Essity, revealed that on average, women lose 5 months of sleep over their lifetime, due to the discomfort and anxiety of their night-time menstruations.

Directed by filmmaker Kim Gehrig, the ‘Periodsomnia’ commercial for the launch of Essity’s ‘Goodnight Towels’, aims to convince women with insightful empathy, that they are not alone. Millions of women experience period sleep-gaps.

By highlighting an issue, that has been suffered in silence for ages, Essity seeks to provide women with a reassuring spirit of brand community, comfort, and peace of mind.

2. Essity Femcare, Blood Normal

Cannes Glass Lion For Change Grand Prix 2018

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London, UK

Production Company: Somesuch & Co, London, UK

Post Production VFX Studios: The Mill / Framestore, London, UK 

The ‘Blood Normal’ campaign’s film scenario, by AMV BBO Copywriter Nicholas Hulley, and Art Director Nadja Lossgott, centred on Essity’s research, that showed 9 out of 10 women still attempt to hide their periods, due in part to the many societal taboos about talking about menstruation, or even broaching the topic. 

The communication objective of the #bloodnormal commercial, directed by filmmaker Daniel Wolfe, with Director of Photography, Monika Lenczewska, was outlined on the ‘Bodyfrom’ website as calling time on period taboos.

“We show true-to-life situations; we show blood; we show the world that the only way to kill stigma is to make the invisible visible”.

“By bringing blood out of the dark, onto our screens and into the conversation we’re paving a positive path for women of the future. After all, shouldn’t period-talk be as normal as periods themselves?”

Lauren Connolly, ECD at BBDO New York, and Immortal Awards juror of LBBOnline’s free-to-enter award show said; “Blood Normal changed society. It changed the category. It changed storytelling. It changed integration. It changed production. And nothing about it felt like an ad, but like a giant leap forward.”

3. Essity FemCare, Viva La Vulva

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London, UK

Production Company: Somesuch & Co, London, UK

Directed by filmmaker Kim Gehrig, the integrated ‘Viva La Vulva’ campaign commercial combines live action and animation, in creatively visualised vaginal analogies, to break down those taboos, insecurities and stereotypes that women are subjected to, when it comes to their genitals, and to celebrate the vulva in all its beautiful forms. 

Essity believes, that feelings of insecurity and social awkwardness, that prevents women from having a positive relationship with their bodies, is a result of society projected myths about the perfect vulva, that has gone on for far too long.

Publicly lauded by women globally on social media, and numerous published articles, the multi award-winning ‘Viva La Vulva’ campaign, which includes several Cannes Lions and a 2019 Clio Grand Prix, features a resonant soundtrack of American musician and poet, Camille Yarbrough’s, “Take Yo’ Praise”.

4. Essity FemCare, Womb Stories

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London, UK

Production Company: Chelsea Pictures, London UK

Essity and AMV BBDO’s groundbreaking, visceral #wombstories campaign, was initiated to candidly address research findings, that 62% of participating respondents, didn’t think women’s anatomy and health issues are talked about openly enough.

As Tanja Grubner, FemCare Global Marketing & Communications Director at Essity, on the Glamour website explained: 

“With #wombstories we are starting a movement. We want to boldly go where no other brand has been before; inside women’s bodies and emotions to truly represent their sensations and feelings that we believe are not only invisible, but also ignored, overlooked, or denied”. 

Filmmaker, director, writer, and producer, Nisha Ganatra, teamed up with female animators; Roos Mattar, Kate Isobel Scott, Haein Kim, Carine Khalife, Laura Jayne Hodkin, and Salla Lehmus, to produce an insightful and powerful narrative, of live footage and animation vignettes.

Winner of a Cannes Titanium Grand Prix in 2020, and 9 D&AD Pencils, including one of only three awarded Black Pencils, Essity’s ‘Womb Stories’, were universally hailed by women, as a socially enlightening “breathe of fresh air”.