Why is this work relevant for Glass: The Award for Change
Wombstories has broken every convention to break new ground for women’s health.
It dares to go where no one has before, showing the complex stories society is too ashamed to hear, and creating an entire new universe of wombworlds - finally acknowledging the potency of women’s relationships with their wombs. It’s dynamited silence to create a healing culture of sharing. And created a new language for pain that helps diagnosis for overlooked conditions.
It’s pioneered new methods of data collection, using emotional listening and metaphorical linguistics. And broken the advertising dogma of simplicity by embracing complexity and all its messy truths
In order to break new ground for women’s health, you have to have the courage to break almost every convention.
You have to be brave enough to go where no one else has gone before and tell the complex stories society is too ashamed to hear.
You have to finally acknowledge the potency of the relationship between women and their wombs.
You have to break the dogma of simplicity and embrace the messy complex truth. You have to invent an entire new universe of wombworlds. Dynamite silence to create a healing culture of sharing. Create a new language for pain to help diagnoses for overlooked pain. Pioneer new methods of data collection, using emotional listening and metaphorical linguistics.
And you need to stay the course on the taboo-breaking, truth-telling journey about women’s periods in order to break down the suffocating culture of silence and shame that surrounds women’s intimate experiences.
Describe the cultural / social / political climate in your region and the significance of your campaign within this context
Dismantling centuries of silence and shame takes bravery. The 26 countries Wombstories launched in are vastly different. In France same sex couples were denied the right to IVF, in some markets even the word Uterus was censored, while blood, miscarriage, child free by choice are still deep-seated taboos everywhere. But wherever you live women’s experiences are doubted and silenced. Fuelling a never-ending cycle of silence and shame further perpetuated by a world that likes to tell women what they should want and experience. This law of silence has disastrous mental and physical consequences. We see it in an average diagnosis time of 8 years for endometriosis, 62% of all women feeling unable to share their experiences, in miscarriage effecting nearly 20% of all pregnancies yet women suffering in silence, in women made to feel guilty about not wanting children. The list goes on and on.
However, talking about your experiences, sharing your experiences and hearing other people’s experiences is universally good for our health and wellbeing.
Describe the creative idea
Wombstories goes where no one else has gone before. Into the womb, daring to show all the unseen, unheard and hidden experiences.
It started with creative listening - by daring to ask women how they actually felt. And giving them the tools to express themselves, through metaphorical exercises.
And it was designed to be a catalyst for even more listening and sharing. When the film was released - millions of people engaged with it and thousands of them gathered the courage to share personal wombstories, many of which we transformed again into creative outputs and sent back into culture.
These stories led us to the under-researched topic of womb pain and conditions, which we sought to help with the world’s first pain dictionary - using metaphors instead of the outdated 1-10 pain scale.
Describe the strategy
Bodyform/Libresse is a challenger brand in feminine care, up against P&G which cannot be outspent. For several years now, the brand platform ‘Live Fearless’ has helped the brand punch above its weight by representing women’s periods and intimate anatomy in ground breaking, truthful ways.
As Bodyform/Libresse had expanded its portfolio and was expanding its audience - because women don’t stop having periods and vaginas after 30! - the brand needed to restate its purpose and identity to leave women feeling understood.
Since Bloodnormal, everyone had been following the trend of showing periods in their true colour. But what no one dared to do was to go much deeper, into women’s most intimate experiences. Because they were too taboo. Too complex. Too raw.
Bodyform/Libresse wanted to address the issue with empathy, beauty, creativity and courage.
Describe the execution
Wombstories brings to life wombworlds and their wombdwellers in many ways. The film weaves together multiple storylines in a visceral emotional rollercoaster of love and hate, pain and pleasure. Throughout this bittersweet journey we dare to show the unseen, unheard wombstories: the struggle with IVF, the devastation of miscarriage, the choice to remain child free, menopause, the overwhelming pain of endometriosis, all while being a universal story of life with a womb.
The film triggered a catharsis and gave people the bravery to share their own stories which we turned into more wombstories, fuelling more sharing.
The first ever pain dictionary and the medical research paper, the pain report, targets the under researched area of endometriosis. Written by endometriosis sufferers the dictionary seeks to replace the outdated 1-10 pain scale by letting language and art do what numbers can’t: let sufferers define their own pain, and others recognise theirs.
Describe the results / impact
By listening and daring to show what we heard, Wombstories has been an exploding cultural bomb. With over 100 million views, shared in 132 countries, a reach of 1.5 billion in the UK, the number 1 share of social voice, and a 200% increase in social followers, Wombstories has sparked millions of conversations giving people the bravery to share their own stories in astonishing depth. Which we turned into more wombstories fuelling more sharing. Wombstories is also making systemic change in the way data is collected on women’s pain, and the way pain is diagnosed. The pain dictionary and medical research “pain report” has been praised by doctors as a powerful tool. With market share up 8.1% in the UK, 14.1% in Russia, and 9.9% in Denmark, Wombstories has been good for the brand. But it has been transformative for women. And for their health and wellbeing