On a mission to make menopause a stage that everyone knows about, two Gen X campaigners have taken a series of outdoor ads to the streets via Lock Docks and oOoh!media NZ in time for World Menopause Day on October 18, 2023.
“Every woman, some non-binary and trans men will go through menopause/ruahinetanga. It impacts everyone, directly or indirectly, so we all need to learn about it,” says menopause advocate Sarah Connor.
About 70 percent of women experience moderate or severe symptoms during perimenopause/menopause when fluctuating hormones can impact their physical and mental health for an average of five to seven years.
Not wanting to wait the two to four years that it may have taken to get a publicly funded campaign up and running across the country, she set out to do it herself with the help of brand strategist and creative Helen Milner.
“We don’t have two to four years. Anyone of any age or gender has the right to understand their mind and body, and to get the support they need at any stage of life – including menopause,” Connor says.
The results of the NZ Menopause Survey (2023) carried out by GP/menopause doctor Linda Dear are sobering. Of the 4,000+ respondents, 64 percent had experienced anxiety, 69 percent reported a low mood, and sadly but not surprisingly, 18 percent said they had thought about ending their lives. Sixty four percent didn’t know their symptoms were because of menopause.
“You don’t know what you don’t know,” Connor adds. “There are many layers to menopause.” Each outdoor ad features one of six facts she wishes she’d known sooner.
It’s the third time Connor has teamed up with Milner for the cause. Following the launch of two awareness-raising tea towels in 2021, they created NZ’s first outdoor ads featuring the word menopause for World Menopause Day 2022.
Milner explains that their latest collaboration is a striking and effective way to reach the public.
“Like the tea towels, we wanted the six ads to be unapologetically bold, single minded and informative — to change people’s perceptions about menopause; to have everyone know it’s a normal and sometimes challenging transition and something to understand, respect and celebrate,” says Milner. “The tag line reflects our plain and simple goal: for everyone to learn about it — in the same way we all learn about puberty, sex and pregnancy.”
This year the creative pair have partnered with Big Street Bikers again to run the digital outdoor ads via its Locky Docks network – places for people to lock, dock and recharge their bike, e-bike or scooter in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, Kirikiriroa/Hamilton, Tauranga, Whakatāne, Kāpiti, Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai/Lower Hutt, Te Papaioea/Palmerston North, Pōneke/Wellington, Ōtautahi/Christchurch, and Ōtepoti/Dunedin.
Cleve Cameron, Managing Director of Big Street Bikers says they are pleased to be running the campaign for the second year.
“Repetition and great headlines really help normalise in the public’s mind a very normal thing.”
This year, oOh!media NZ have also supported the campaign with the digital ads featuring on 40 screens in 26 shopping centres across nine cities and towns nationwide.
Nick Vile, GM for oOh!media NZ says: “We’re proud to be providing a platform around World Menopause Day this year – to help spark conversation, fight stigma and empower our communities with information.”
From where Connor and Milner are standing, the future looks bright. “One day everyone will know about menopause, and women and people going through it will be supported at home, work and in the community if needed. One tea towel, one conversation, one outdoor ad at a time…change is possible. It’s as plain and simple as that.”
World Menopause Day is 18 October and World Menopause Month runs through October. Everyone can do something to raise awareness of menopause. To join the revolution, visit www.menopauseovermartinis.org