Spearheaded by agency RAPP UK and British lingerie and sex toy brand Ann Summers, the Remove Fear from the Smear campaign is a life-saving one. 

With hopes to destigmatise cervical screenings and to empower women to attend them, the campaign’s star is a new, ‘life-saving sex toy’. Actually, it is a speculum – the type used for cervical screening tests. 

In true product launch fashion, the campaign’s video has all the makings of a real one. Upbeat pop music, dramatic product close-ups, and coy copy give way to the campaign’s core message.

The big reveal comes with the text: “The Life-Saving One […] Helps the NHS save 5,000 lives each year from cervical cancer”. A call-to-action to book for cervical screening follows.

Remove Fear from the Smear

The integrated campaign launched on 19 June 2023 to commemorate National Cervical Screening Week. Prominent online and offline, pink speculums appeared in-store beside key statistics about cervical screenings. 

Ultimately, the objective is to remove the fear of talking about cervical screenings (the smears) outside a clinical environment. Regular screenings could prevent at least 83% of deaths yearly. 

“Women aged between 25-29 are the least likely to attend their cervical smear test and also Ann Summer’s core customer base – making this partnership incredibly powerful. By providing this new and super creative lens for women to think about the process of cervical screening, we hope they will see there really is no need to ‘fear the smear’,” said Afua Basoah, RAPP UK’s Head of Health and Social Impact.

Ann Summers recognises various factors that may deter one from testing – like the speculum’s size. However, as proven by its campaign video, a speculum is about the same size as a sex toy. As the brand talks openly about sexual pleasure and wellness, its connection to cervical health plays a relevant role too.

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