Two campaigns launch, utilising marketing to promote women’s health
Two major campaigns aimed at ending stigma and silence around women’s health in Australia have launched.
‘I Touch Myself Project’ launched a new campaign highlighting the gender bias in tech, for International Women’s Day. The video, created in partnership with Wunderman Thompson and Collider, features the ubiquitous voice of Karen Jacobsen, the voice of Siri who can be heard on more than a billion devices. During the video, Jacobsen’s voice encourages women to ‘touch themselves’, guiding them through the breast self-examination process.
The concept was inspired by the gender bias in technology platforms, where voice assistants can tell you how to check your testicles for signs of cancer and can even respond to slang terms for the male anatomy but can’t answer the life saving question, “How do I check my breasts?”
Sinead Roarty, creative director at Wunderman Thompson, says “The ‘I Touch Myself Project’ mission is to encourage young women to touch themselves regularly to find early signs of cancer. But with draconian nipple regulations on social media and inconsistent responses by voice assistants, the implication that the female body is inherently pornographic has created a barrier to delivering basic health messages. It’s sexist and dangerous.”
‘I Touch Myself Project’ is not alone in using advertising and marketing to spread the message about women’s health. Last week Australian luxury fashion brand Camilla and Marc launched its ‘Ovaries. Talk About Them.’ campaign, aimed at funding research into an early-detection test for ovarian cancer. The label was created by siblings Camilla Freeman-Topper and Marc Freeman who tragically lost their own mother to ovarian cancer when they were 11 and 13 years old, respectively.
The pair have designed limited-edition T-shirts to raise funds for Ovarian Cancer Research at UNSW Sydney, where Associate Professor Caroline Ford is at the forefront of creating an early detection test that could save lives. While other cancers have early detection tests, ovarian cancer currently has none – a contributing factor in its high mortality rates.
The ‘Ovaries. Talk About Them.’ campaign has been supported on social media by a host of Australian celebrities including Zoe Foster-Blake, Abbie Cornish, Theresa Palmer, Nicole Warne, Karl Stefanovic, Jessica Rowe and more. Like the ‘I Touch Myself Project’ campaign, there is a focus on eliminating stigma and silence around women’s health issues in Australia.
Associate Professor Caroline Ford touched on the deadly consequences of stigma in women’s health, saying: “There is a lack of comfort in Australia in discussing anything related to gynaecological issues and the reproductive system. There is a big stigma in even naming those body parts. Women can be embarrassed and ashamed if anything changes, which probably means early symptoms are missed.”