Body-care start-up Luna slaps vulva over ‘phallic Tate’

vulvaLuna Daily, a challenger body-care start-up on a mission to remove the feminine hygiene category as it is known today, has launched its first work through Joan London aimed at eradicating the stigma and shame around the word “vulva”.

Luna Daily specialises in microbiome-balancing body care suitable for all skin types, including the most intimate. It was launched in Boots stores across the UK last month and is already stocked in Sephora in the US and the UK.

Luna Daily is one of the founding clients of Joan London, which opened in the summer as the first international office of New York-based agency Joan Studios. It won the business without a pitch.

The campaign, entitled “Vulva Therapy”, is being backed by the world’s first “Vulva Therapy hotline” (0800 233 Luna) created in partnership with celebrity psychotherapist expert Annabelle Knight. However, an out of home campaign has been rejected by some media owners.

Instead, the agency has embarked on guerilla executions and fly postering – including projecting the word ‘vulva’ onto the chimney at the Tate Modern – supported by a global influencer activation, merchandise and a PR and social media strategy.

The brand argues that the discomfort with the word is fuelling vulva miseducation and shame, with Luna Daily’s extensive research uncovering that women feel more embarrassed about talking about their vulva than they do talking about their sex life or how much they earn.

To add to this, “vulva silence” is also causing health issues that see one in three women not attending routine cervical screenings, citing embarrassment as the reason; a sad statistic given that cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer in women under the age of 45 and is 99.6% preventable through screening.

Born from founder Katy Cottam’s personal experiences of using feminine hygiene products that came with a “what’s wrong with her” stigmatisation, the campaign’s central theme is to normalise the word “vulva” much like any other body part. And Luna Daily’s tagline, “Head, Vulva, Knees and Toes” reflects this mission.

While the campaign’s primary target audience comprises women of all ages, stages and backgrounds, the overarching goal is to engage society at large.

Cottam said: “We have a huge mission trying to tackle how people are taught to speak about their bodies and Joan London are the perfect partner for us to help spread the word in the most impactful, yet compassionate way. We’re not just challenging the status quo; we’re redefining how society views the word ‘vulva’ and our bodies.

“This campaign embodies our mission to empower women and promote open, unapologetic conversations about our bodies. It’s about time that the vulva is celebrated as a natural and integral part of who we are.”

Joan London executive creative director Kirsty Hathaway added: “To really trigger change, you need to start real conversations between real people. You need to be audience first. We want to stop people in their tracks – which, I’d say, this does – addressing a serious topic in a way that drives cultural talkability. It makes you laugh, all while eradicating shame.

“As we navigated media rejections for the campaign artwork containing the word ‘vulva’ (which kind of proves the problem), we looked to the Guerilla Girls for inspiration. The ultimate culture jammers – using their voice, talent, guerilla tactics and wit to drive change for female artists.

“Never letting a ‘no’ get in the way of their ambition. It was serendipity that they have a show on The Tate at the moment. So we did what any aspiring culture jammer would do, and projected our Vulva artwork onto the Tate Modern’s chimney (the fact it’s phallic is just, well, kind of perfect). This is too important a topic to be silenced.

“This sets the tone for what to expect from Joan London. Creativity that is unafraid, bold, fun and mostly has the audience feeling something. Because, that is what joyful rebellion really is.”

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