Individually, menopause and masturbation carry their own longstanding stigmas and societal taboos that can make them difficult to discuss publicly.
That’s part of what makes this week’s launch of the Over and Over Again campaign from sexual health medical device manufacturer MysteryVibe and creative agency Havas Lynx Group so intriguing.
In a holiday season advertising blitz, the Over and Over Again campaign has plastered posters across two dozen locations in Manhattan that promote a menopause prescription that “you’ll be happy to take.”
Over and Over Again tackles an often overlooked and underdiscussed aspect of aging, which is the effect it has on one’s comfort level with intimacy.
An estimated 75 million American women experience menopause and 2 million women reach menopause each year, making it a widespread issue that still doesn’t get talked about enough in an open and receptive way.
In addition to the well-known symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats, menopausal women also typically encounter new challenges to their sex life, including vaginal dryness, pain during intercourse and decreased libido.
This provocative effort marks the first campaign promoting orgasms for menopausal women.
The campaign to empower women in their 50s and 60s to rediscover self-pleasure is based around the research of Professor Joyce Harper, who heads the Institute for Women’s Health, University College London.
In a two-and-a-half minute long video released Friday, Harper highlights the medical benefits associated with masturbating and orgasms for this cohort.
While much progress has been made to mainstream sexual health and pleasure as self care, MysteryVibe CEO Dr. Soum Rakshit told MM+M that this dynamic has usually been associated with younger women rather than those reaching or experiencing menopause.
He said in the past year, specifically after actress Elizabeth Hurley told Hello! Magazine that she remained confident in her body despite reaching menopause, that the narrative has started to be discussed more publicly.
Rakshit said his company is looking to use this campaign as a catalyst that empowers patients to start the conversation.
“The message is so simple, it’s easy to read and it stands out. It’s not subtle, it’s direct,” he said. “Hopefully, people will spend a few seconds reading it, remembering it and then start having those conversations, whether with their partners or their doctors.”
Leveling the aging sex playing field
While consumers may be all too familiar with medication options that aging men have for their sexual health, be that decreased libido or erectile dysfunction, the same cannot be said for aging women.
That is why Tash Loeb Mills, a senior planner at Havas Lynx Group, said the agency looked at Over and Over Again as a way to destigmatize an issue facing a massive, but underserved patient population.
Mills said Havas Lynx wanted to amplify the message that there are health benefits related to masturbation for women over the age of 45 and address the fact that these conversations aren’t happening at the frequency with which they should be.
Over and Over Again calls to mind the Girl vs Cancer campaign supported by Bartle Bogle Hegarty in the fall to address the rarely-discussed aspects of sex, pleasure and intimacy for people living with or beyond cancer.
Even the name of the campaign, a nod towards the subject at hand, brings a playful element to the idea of masturbation in a direct, public-facing way.
Still, Mills said the agency was mindful to speak candidly about how the body changes as it ages and why masturbation isn’t a joke, but rather a potential medical treatment for those experiencing menopause.
“We’re not trying to be coy or use puns or make it feel too light-hearted and humorous, because we just felt that that wouldn’t connect with them. It needed to feel meaningful,” she said.
Bringing menopause to the fore
Over and Over Again is the latest example of advertising that is unafraid to be direct about menopause and its effect on older women.
In August, TBWA\Chiat\Day NY’s Health Collective partnered with the Menopause Information Pack for Organizations to launch The Hot Resignation campaign aimed at empowering employees and drawing the attention of human resources leaders to resignations related to menopause.
Amberen also kicked off a brand campaign called The Other Talk, which is designed to foster conversations about menopause.
In the fall, Hello! magazine teamed with the nonprofit Let’s Talk Menopause on creating a menopause hub, hosting a Marvelous Mrs. Menopause event in New York and developing a podcast series to coincide with Menopause Awareness Month.
Perhaps most notably, Astellas Pharma rolled out its first national TV commercial for Veozah, the company’s oral, nonhormonal compound for treating menopause-related symptoms, earlier this fall.
The Fewer Hot Flashes, More Not Flashes consumer omnichannel marketing campaign was unveiled months after the Food and Drug Administration approved the nonhormonal neurokinin 3 receptor antagonist to treat menopause-related symptoms.