What did we want to do?

It’s time to talk about peeing yourself. That’s right. It’s a taboo not a typo.  

Elvie challenged us to raise awareness around incontinence – which affects one in three women and up to 80% of new and expectant mums – and create a brand moment for Elvie’s pelvic floor trainer. The thing is, no-one really loves to talk about wetting themselves. So we needed something clever, and a little bit cheeky, to help us start a conversation, challenge taboos, and deliver an educational message that encouraged women to seek help.

What did we do?

Incontinence affects one in three women, negatively impacting their quality of life. But our research showed that a whopping 72% of women aren’t seeking treatment, mainly because they’re embarrassed to share their experiences. It’s a well known fact that humour is like kryptonite for taboos. So we decided to head down to Edinburgh Fringe to fly the incontinence flag, or the ‘Fanny flag’ to be more precise. 

Our plan was to sponsor the Fringe festival with our campaign, ‘Pissing Yourself Laughing’. The campaign featured an educational pop-up called the Pissing Booth and a 19 ft blimp called Fanny. To our surprise, at the last minute, Edinburgh Fringe pulled the plug. They told us that our pop-up wasn’t ‘suitable’ and that our blimp didn’t have permission to fly in the City Centre. With less than ten days before we were due to launch our campaign, we were left without a place to rest our… Fanny.  No laughing matter. 

© Sandy young Photography 07970 268944

PICTURED early morning walker looking at Fanny.
A 19ft tall inflatable in the shape of a vagina is seen in the sky over Edinburgh for the Elvie #LetFannyFly campaign. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 11, 2019. The campaign comes as the womenÕs health brand were prevented from sponsoring and appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, where they intended on educating the public around pelvic floor weakness in a bid to tackle the taboo around incontinence, which means many women don't seek treatment. The original plans - including an educational pop-up - were deemed Ônot suitableÕ by Edinburgh City Council and the organisers of the Festival due to representations of vaginas used to raise awareness of this health problem. Photo credit should read: Sandy Young/PA Wire

E: sandy@scottishphotographer.com
W: www.scottishphotographer.com

What happened?

We weren’t prepared to back down. 

We turned the tables and called Fringe out for being too squeamish to allow our campaign to go ahead. Instead of our original plan, we found a sheep farm 30 minutes outside Edinburgh. We inflated Fanny. And appealed to the Council and Fringe Festival to #LetFannyFly before the helium runs out and Fanny gets deflated. The campaign launched with the hashtag #LetFannyFly. We created a film, images and a news story, all while encouraging influencers to help us spread the word. Finally, we got the public involved through our LetFannyFly petition on Change.org. Despite torrential rain and more than a little sheep poo, Fanny was a big hit. In just three days, the campaign generated 220 pieces of coverage including The Sun, The Metro, The Times and Bustle. And Fanny reached 8.4 million people on social media. Elvie’s website referral traffic soared by 35% on launch day alone and our petition was signed by 4,500 supporters.

We know. You’re wondering what happened to Fanny? Well, despite the public’s support, Fringe still refused to let her fly, but she’s just waiting to soar through the air once more. So, if you’d like to adopt Fanny, just drop us a line.     


What did we learn?

People love an underdog. Where there’s a will there’s a way. And when it comes to tackling taboos around women’s health, people are willing to talk if you give them a cause to get behind.


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