Herd MSL Campaign Spotlight: Always Discreet’s “Generation Invisible”
By Sarah Glover
The challenge: Building on a conversation no one wants to have
After a successful launch into the Australian market in 2020, urinary incontinence protection brand, Always Discreet, tasked us with continuing our taboo-busting mission. But in order to grow the category and brand volume share, we needed to go after the ageing population, whilst ensuring Always Discreet and its products were positioned in a different and meaningful way.
In doing so, PR’s role was to:
- Create mass awareness and secure earned media coverage beyond women’s lifestyle and into general news outlets and broadcast TV
- Create an emotional point of difference for the brand that demonstrates true category leadership so Always Discreet is viewed as a brand that wholeheartedly cares for all women who experience bladder leaks
Strategy: The path to dignity
There’s no denying bladder leaks cross demographics, ages and social classes. Afterall, we knew from our year 1 campaign that 1 in 3 Australian women experience bladder leaks. But as we dug deeper into our target audience of women over 50, we uncovered a startling statistic: Australian women over 50 are actually the fastest growing group of people entering homelessness in Australia.
In fact, 1 in 3 women over 60 live in permanent income poverty.
This then begged the question: if these women were struggling to put food on the table each day, how could they possibly afford the bladder protection they need which, on average, is $400 a year?
You’d be right to assume most of Australia was aware of this minority group’s struggle. You’d also be wrong, because our research highlighted very minimal reporting and coverage of the issue over the past 18-24 months.
To dig further into this seemingly invisible group of women, we conducted local research and discovered that more than a quarter of women over 50-years-old who experience bladder leaks are unable to afford the protection they need.
Not only was this damaging the confidence of these women, it was also having a significant impact on their lifestyle and hygiene with almost two-thirds (59%) saying they’ve had to sacrifice everyday items – like bread and milk and even rent, transport and medicine – to afford the necessary protection.
Sadly, 33% of women who struggled to afford the sanitary protection they needed were resorting to using unhygienic alternatives – like tissues, paper towels or toilet paper, and even multiple pairs of underwear, cloth from clothes and socks.
The research brought us to the heart of Always Discreet’s strategy: helping to provide invincible and invisible protection to Aussie women who are made to feel invisible, no matter their circumstance.
The Idea: A partnership to make a real, genuine difference
Always Discreet partnered with Australian charity, Share the Dignity, who support this invisible generation day-in-day-out. Set up to provide period protection products to women in need, we worked with them to further expand their offering to include bladder leak protection products for vulnerable and disadvantaged Australian women.
Working with the charity provided the campaign with strong credentials. But beyond building on the taboo topic, Always Discreet wanted to contribute practically. That’s why in June, for any pack of Always Discreet purchased in Woolworths and Chemist Warehouse stores, Always Discreet would make a donation to Share the Dignity, ensuring the essential protection would go into the hands of those who are in desperate need.
Execution: Building momentum on a difficult (but important) conversation
Kicking off during World Continence Week in June 2021, we announced Always Discreet’s partnership with Share the Dignity and raised awareness of the donation mechanic in Woolworths and Chemist Warehouse stores.
To spread awareness of the invisible issue, create a genuine conversation, and bolster engagement with our donation mechanic and CTA, we needed to employ a number of tactics:
- An editorial drive: Securing mass awareness of the partnership and educating Australians on practical ways they can help the invisible generation
- Content package: A bank of assets were packaged up for launch, including an emotive video to bring the issue to life, still images, and an audio news release. We also leveraged the same research findings uncovered in planning to help shape our editorial story.
- Influencer engagement: We recruited fitness guru, Michelle Bridges, as the hero ambassador for media interviews, supported by TV personality, Jules Robinson, and TV presenter, Shelly Horton. This allowed us to break down walls between the invisible issue and consumers in order to create genuine conversations in mainstream media titles.
- Third party endorsement and spokesperson: Using Share the Dignity’s founder, Rochelle Courtenay as a spokesperson, we provided media with first-hand accounts of the circumstances surrounding the women they work with on a day-to-day basis.
- Event: We planned to host an event at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Sydney, but like many things in 2021, COVID-19 had other plans and we needed to cancel 48 hours before the event was scheduled.
Impact: Driving meaningful change and practical help for the invisible generation
It’s not always easy to get national media coverage for a topic centred around such a taboo health condition – we even had some media openly share feedback that this is simply not a topic they would touch – yet the campaign saw over 155 pieces of earned coverage across mainstream media reaching 36.9 million Australians.
Not only was awareness of the issue heightened, but through the in-store activation over 157,000 Always Discreet pads were donated to Share the Dignity, meaning women across the country received the protection they desperately needed.
For the brand, the donation mechanic saw Always Discreet achieve its highest ever weekly sales in Woolworths stores since launch in 2020.
This campaign ladders up to Herd MSL’s mission: to create conversations that change Australians, and it’s our hope we can continue to build on this momentum to support an older generation that often feel so invisible.
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