Research shows that women’s pain has long been overlooked, ignored and dismissed through societal and medical biases. In a rare move for a brand, Reckitt drug Nurofen has launched a campaign to close the gender pain gap.
The gender pain gap refers to the phenomenon in which women’s pain is less understood and more mistreated compared to pain in men, due to systemic biases and inequalities. Factors behind the gap include a historic lack of medical research and mandatory training for healthcare professionals on women’s conditions, as well as ingrained gender bias in society.
The U.K. government said recently in its Women’s Health Strategy that a “male as default” approach exists in research and clinical trials, meaning less is known about pain conditions that predominantly affect women and about how certain conditions affect men and women differently. The gender pain gap can also have a long-term effects on women, with 41% reporting that pain causes trouble sleeping and nearly a quarter saying that pain has led to them feeling depressed (compared to less than a fifth of men who said the same).
Taking pain seriously
Nurofen is addressing and raising awareness of this issue through a platform called “See My Pain.” More than a marketing campaign, the brand has made a series of long-term commitments aimed at finally closing the gender pain gap.
For example, the company will develop new tools to assist both women and men in their description and articulation of pain when meeting healthcare professionals. It has also committed to gender balance in the design and analysis of its clinical research and will regularly track progress through its Gender Pain Gap Index Report.
The first report found that one in six women experience severe pain every day, women are in pain more often and more severely than men and more than one in two women feel they have had their pain ignored or dismissed because of their gender.
Nurofen is launching the initiative with ads across print and out-of-home. McCann London created the campaign, while Golin developed the Gender Pain Index Report with support from McCann Health London.
“The launch of the ‘See My Pain’ campaign today is a bold strategic choice from Nurofen to commit to helping make a difference in women’s lives, rooted in the painful insight that there is, sadly, a gender pain gap,” Nuria Antoja, marketing director at Nurofen, said in a statement. “Nurofen’s ‘See My Pain’ campaign, the Gender Pain Gap Index and Nurofen’s commitments to support closing the gap are just the start of Nurofen’s quest to improve conversations about women’s health. We want to use the brand’s power and recognition to continue pushing for impactful changes, and we welcome other organizations to join us.”
Client: Nurofen, Reckitt
Marketing director: Nuria Antoja
Category director pain: Catherine Lloyd
Category manager: Rose Gell
Senior brand managers: Eva Karypidou, Ivona Dimitrova
Global brand marketing manager: Elif Yavuz—GBMM
Assistant brand manager: Amelia Western
Senior medical marketing and professional relations manager: Sarah Mainland
Global medical marketing manager analgesics: Connie Hersch
Creative agency: McCann London
CCOs: Rob Doubal, Laurence Thomson
Creative director: Ruth Boulter
Producer: Bebe Kiffin
Head of planning: Lee Ramsay
Planning partner: Jonathan Brown
Planning director: Rebecca Priest
Planner: Jo Costello
Global brand lead: Katie Edwards
Business director: Georgie Rechner
Account director: Rita Diria
Senior account manager: Marta Smierciak
Project director: Freya Thompson
Head of design: Lisa Carrana
Designers: Lauryn Raymond, Harley-Jo Avery
Senior designers: Matt Manlove, Matt Bryce
Design director: Jason Smith
PR agency: Golin
Evp, purpose: Victoria Brophy
Director, purpose: Eleanor Riddles
Director, health: Kirsty Gilmour
Senior manager, health: Alex Martin
Manager, health: Vicky Plato
Junior account exec, health: Lydia Goldman
McCann Health London
Executive creative director: Guy Swimer
Managing director: Alex Frew
Creative director: Eduardo Boldrini
Account director: Gini Baysheva
Planning director: Lee Menzies-Pearson
Senior creatives: Gavin Tormey, Lucas Guratti
Senior strategist, social sciences: Helen Moyes
Senior expert strategist: Jodie Sanassy
Account manager: Charlotte Forestier
Senior project manager: Cristina Stan
Business co-ordinator: Ioan Plumtree