Pharmiva is a Swedish femtech company that works for women's vaginal health. In 2021 they launched their very first product, Vernivia Vaginal Mousse. A new innovative non- prescription drug for bacterial vaginosis, the most common vaginal infection characterized by smelly “fishy” discharge.
Half of the world's population has vaginal discharge, it is a natural part of life as a woman. However, vaginal discharge is one of the most taboo topics related to women’s health. We don’t talk about it - it is something shameful that women hide to themselves.
Our mission was to talk about these things that make people feel scared, disgusted and uncomfortable with, without scaring them off. A hard but important task.
With the campaign “A part of life” we created a film that talks about vaginal health in a new modern way. Without pointing any fingers, ridicule or shaming. We wanted to shed light on the actual problem that women feel like they have to hide and keep from others. So that we once and for all can end the silence, shame and suffering for women.
The film shows some of the behaviors that women do to hide their discharge and bacterial vaginosis. “Solutions” that make the symptoms worse. We wanted to send out a message to make people realize that these behaviors are absurd and that there is an easy way to get rid of bacterial vaginosis - with Vernivia Vaginal Mousse.
A big challenge when promoting vaginal health products, is that it’s a taboo topic and not socially accepted to talk about. For example, we are used to seeing blue periods in women's hygiene ads and when searching for images the result is a mix of pink, illustrated and stereotypical photos.
Vaginal discharge and bacterial vaginosis doesn’t exist. Not if you ask a search engine. When translating discharge from Swedish to English, the search engine thinks you spelled it wrong. However, when adding “disgusting” before the word, the translation is correct. This sends out a clear message: Women's vaginal health is silenced and hidden. Not only amongst women, but in society as well.
It was important for us to once and for all, show discharge how it actually looks like. But due to the digital platforms regulations and the taboo regarding discharge, we were forced to censure. However, we didn’t do this uncommented. Over the censored discharge, a comment saying ”The hidden content is considered offensive for some” was shown.
As earlier mentioned, bacterial vaginosis is a very common infection. However, not a lot of women know that it even exists. That is a huge problem. Because how do you sell a product (in this case a non-prescription drug) to a target group if they don’t know that they need it?
We had to defuse the sensitive subject. We therefore created a film that feels appealing and easy to take in, that also highlights the problem. Through this approach, we were able to increase knowledge about bacterial vaginosis and spread information about how to treat it without shaming.
It was time to show reality as it is. With ordinary women in ordinary situations. The women we portrayed take space and are not made victims for their problems despite the fact that bacterial vaginosis can be an obstacle in everyday life that causes suffering. In order to emphasize the empowerment and create a film and message that spoke to the target group, the film was created with strong characters, colorful settings and an uptempo song. This was our way to invite people to start thinking about discharge as a part of life, and realizing that bacterial vaginosis doesn’t have to be.
”A part of life” was the very first campaign to launch Vernivia Vaginal Mousse on the Swedish market. The campaign was advertised primarily on social media. The film was shown over 8 million times, 67% more times than estimated.
The product sold out. Which once again shows that there is a great need for vaginal health products. "A part of life" is just the beginning of the end of silence, shame and suffering.