Raising the Bar for Health Equity in Advertising

How agencies are sparking change for the Health Equity movement in advertising and marketing

por India Fizer , AdForum

Inequality in healthcare and personalized health services for marginalized groups is a prevalent issue that many agencies have been trying to tackle. Today, we are taking a look at campaigns and initiatives that open the conversation for DEI in healthcare advertising. More campaigns can be found in our Health Equity creative compilation.


Wunderman Thompson + Health4Equity Center of Excellence

Todo en uno
New York, Estados Unidos
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Black mothers — regardless of socioeconomic status — are more than 3x more likely to die in childbirth than white mothers. This inequity is due in large part to health deterioration, caused by chronic stressors like racism and classism, called "weathering," a term first coined by Dr. Arline Geronimus in 1992. Earlier this year, Wunderman Thompson’s Health4Equity Center of Excellence launched a campaign centered around their new digital zine RxUCKUS, which aims to advocate for Black maternal health. The zine features poetry and art by Black creatives, equipping Black women with vital resources to receive equitable maternal healthcare.

The zine is a result of a collaboration with The Good Listening Project (TGLP). TGLP’s “Listener Poets” hold non-judgmental space for people to process and make sense of their experiences. Meant to inspire, RxUCKUS provides paths to restoration and support for Black mothers and mothers-to-be. Sign up for RxUCKUS at www.RxUCKUS.org.

"RxUCKUS Zine" | Wunderman Thompson 

TBWA\ Helsinki + Vuokkoset

TBWA\ Helsinki
Todo en uno
Helsinki, Finlandia
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This year for International Transgender Awareness Week, Finnish hygiene brand Vuokkoset and TBWA\Helsinki launched the 'Tampon for Men', with an aim to change perceptions of menstruation and reduce the distress it causes to transgender men. Research has shown that 93% of transgender men have experienced gender dysphoria related to menstruation. A fact often overlooked, Trans men and non-binary individuals may still have menstrual cycles, regardless of hormone therapy. This campaign highlights the need for diversity in experiences related to menstruation among different gender identities.

Though the Tampon for Men will only be available as a limited edition in Finland, wider distribution will begin in early 2024. Total sales proceeds are donated to Trasek ry, an organization focused on gender diversity and sexual health. Vuokkoset is also considering a fully gender-neutral tampon product.

"The Tampon for Men" | TBWA\Helsinki

EVERSANA INTOUCH + The Chrysalis Initiative

Overland Park, Estados Unidos
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In a systemically biased healthcare system, WOC are often dismissed and treated with prejudices that keep them from receiving an equitable standard of care.In the US, Black women are 42% more likely to die from breast cancer – even when income and access to care are equal to others. To confront this disturbing reality, EVERSANA INTOUCH teamed up with The Chrysalis Initiative, a nonprofit that exists to disrupt disparities in breast cancer care, and launched the campaign "Inequality You Can't Ignore."

The campaign features three women who were negatively affected by discrimination in their breast cancer care. The poignant photography depicts the women with the inequality symbol painted boldly across their breasts in white – highlighting the disparity in outcomes. An accompanying AR experience can be activated through thr QR code. It presents users with astounding facts on the biases Black women face, and then takes users to a microsite where they can learn even more, sign up for Unconscious Bias training, and obtain important resources.

"Inequlaity You Can't Ignore" | EVERSANA INTOUCH

McCann London + Nurofen

McCann London
Todo en uno
London, Reino Unido
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McCann London partnered with the UK’s leading pain brand Nurofen to launch the next iteration of the 'See MyPain' platform, aimed at raising further awareness of the stark reality of the Gender Pain Gap. The Gender Pain Gap is a critical issue which impacts the everyday lives of women and their health. Nurofen’s research has highlighted the phenomenon in which pain in women is more poorly understood and more mistreated compared to pain in men due to systemic gaps and biases. Half of women surveyed (50%) reported feeling ignored or dismissed by their GP when it came to their pain, compared with just over a third (36%) of men.

The campaign features a series of imitation medicine products bringing to life the dismissals women have heard when expressing their pain to family, friends and healthcare professionals (HCPs), with labels describing the phrases women often hear for their pain, such as “it’s all in your head”, or “maybe your stressed”. 

"Gender Pain" | McCann London

RAPP + Series R

RAPP Worldwide
Marketing Services
New York, Estados Unidos
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Image courtesy of RAPP

Leaders in the realm of DEI, global creative agency RAPP launched RAPP Series R this past International Women's Day, an accelerator program for early-stage FemTech startups on a mission to improve the health and well-being of women+. Health inequities affect the daily lives of millions of women around the world every single day, yet funding from the male-dominant investment community has been difficult to obtain. Currently, the FemTech industry only received about 5% of available funding, despite women spending significantly more on their healthcare needs.

RAPP Seres R gives early-stage digital health startups access to best-in-class marketing services — the same services RAPP offers to their Fortune 500 clients. The contest gave one lucky winner access to the comprehensive Series R package, including a pro bono 3-month customized package of marketing services, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Though the contest is now closed, this is a step in the right direction for the future of FemTech startups receiving the help that they need to create healthcare solutions for underrepresented groups.

You can learn more about the accelerator here.