Tena and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO will release its #LastLonelyMenopause campaign tonight after the ad scooped Channel 4’s Diversity in Advertising Award late last year.
The powerful ad, which tackles intergenerational conversations about the menopause, airs tonight (29 April) on Channel 4 at 8.10pm.
Directed by Shannon Murphy through Lief, AMV BBDO’s film depicts a mother and daughter as the mother navigates the emotional and physical effects of the menopause.
#LastLonelyMenopause explores the parrallels between menopause and puberty and how, despite their similarities, the menopause is often not spoken about enough, leaving many to feel alone while experiencing it.
The narrative takes inspiration from coming of age film tropes, from mood swings to sex, to candidly illustrate how this natural stage of life is simply “the second coming of age”.
“It’s like shedding a skin, but sweatier and with more expletives,” the reassuring voiceover says. “And then it ends, and you’re more yourself than you ever were.”
The touching film concludes with the daughter asking her mother what the menopause is like, encouraging conversation around the taboo subject.
Channel 4’s brief was for agencies and brands to challenge ageism in advertising, as research has shown that people over 50 feel misrepresented in the majority of ads, with 72% feeling that people their age in ads were outdated stereotypes.
The film, devised by Lauren Peters and Augustine Cerf, won £1m worth of commercial airtime across the entire portfolio of channels in Channel 4’s commercial arm 4Sales, including its streaming service All 4.
Set up by the broadcaster six years ago, the award aims to encourage the ad industry to embrace inclusive creative campaigns and extend Channel 4’s championing of diversity to its ad breaks.
For the first time, Channel 4 has broadened its award with a £100,000 digital short-form series produced by 4Studio Productions and commissioned by Channel 4 digital commissioning executive Joe Churchill.
The themes of the award-winning Tena ad will appear in the series, as older and younger people discuss the menopause in a humorous and no-nonsense way. The series is released on 9 May.
“AMV’s ad for Tena is a game-changing take on the narrative around the menopause,” Veriça Djurdjevic, chief revenue officer at Channel 4, said.
“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 and silence that exists around it, despite the fact half the population will experience it.”
Djurdjevic added: “Channel 4 exists to create change through entertainment, and we do this by representing unheard voices and challenging society.
“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.”
Meta Redstedt, global master brand and communications director at Tena, said: “Tena is tackling female ageism, presenting a modern perspective on how midlife women live, championing their participation in society, and representation in culture.
“With this campaign, we are so proud to create a new narrative for the menopause, hopefully starting important conversations in households across the country with Channel 4’s generous support.”
Peters and Cerf, creatives at AMV BBDO, commented: “People going through the menopause also deserve their emotionally nuanced coming of age stories of rage, confusion, liberation and becoming.
“We hope this campaign can reinject 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.”
Murphy, the film’s director, added: “Menopause is a rite of passage yet still an obscure issue for many women, even today. I feel proud to have made something that could help women understand that it’s not something to hide or fear.
“I’m also incredibly grateful for the talent and openness of the women involved in this project, their stories helped us shape such a necessary, honest, and emotional campaign.”