Can Nurofen do for women’s pain what Libresse did for wombs?

Women are still being undermined in all areas of society but perhaps most acutely in the medical arena. Not only are new drugs invariably tested and developed with a male bias, but existing ones are dispensed by doctors who don’t take women as seriously as they should. As a result, major illnesses are going undiagnosed.

Pain management is a case in point: women are often dismissed as hypochondriacs, so Nurofen and McCann London are taking arms against this with their “See my pain” campaign. The latest iteration is a new tool to help women track their pain and symptoms so that they can have more constructive conversations with healthcare professionals.

The “Pain Pass” is a digital tool designed to help women know what to do in the face of bias. It includes a pain scale, pain vocabulary, a calendar to track pain, and tops to help them when they see the doctor.

McCann have done a lot of research and spoken to thousands of women. Half felt that they’d had their pain dismissed because of their gender, while one in five would like better resources to help them talk to the doctor. Only 47% of women surveyed received a diagnosis within 11 months, compared to 66% of men.

Ruth Boulter, creative director at McCann London, said: “The Pain Pass is a first of its kind tool that helps women to break the bias in healthcare. It’s deceptively simple and above all, human. It gives doctors the key information they need and helps women express their individual pain, on their own terms.”

Reckitt Benckiser-owned Nurofen has also set up free Gender Pain Gap training for healthcare professionals, which has been completed by two thirds of Superdrug’s pharmacists, pharmacy assistants and nurses. There’s also a partnership with charity Wellbeing of Women.

Pain relief ads are notoriously difficult to do, and this approach by McCann makes a change from the overacting and throbbing graphics of the past. “See my pain” hasn’t got the traction that AMV BBDO and Libresse achieved in opening up the conversation about women’s wombs, but that’s probably because Nurofen requries a much more medical angle.

MAA creative scale: 6

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