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How Ogilvy Brasil Used Teddies to Tackle the Stigma Around Obesity


LBB’s Ben Conway speaks to the agency’s creative directors about the campaign that addresses fat-shaming friends and family members with a pop-up teddy bear store

How Ogilvy Brasil Used Teddies to Tackle the Stigma Around Obesity

'Não Me Leve' (or, ‘Don't Take Me’) is a campaign created by Ogilvy Brasil for Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, an organisation with a primary focus on developing treatments for diabetes, obesity, and rare blood and endocrine diseases.

The creative idea for the campaign was sparked by research from the Brazilian Association for the Study of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome (Abeso), and the Brazilian Society of Metabology and Endocrinology (SBEM) which revealed that 72% of obese people surveyed have felt shamed in their own homes because of their weight. To show how these hurtful statements - often wrapped up in faux-kindness - do more harm than good, and to share the importance of professional medical consultations, Ogilvy Brasil created pop-up stores with a very unique product.

In Rio de Janeiro’s Barra Shopping centre and at Morumbi Shopping in São Paulo, they set up shops with 'gifts' that should not be taken home - crocheted teddies with some of the hurtful messages they found through their research either written on the bears’ labels, or listenable via ‘squeeze-to-hear’ audio recordings.

While raising awareness about the negative consequences of these phrases, they captured emotional reactions from shoppers who resonated with the experience of being fat-shamed by those closest to them. To go behind the scenes on how this campaign came about, LBB’s Ben Conway spoke with creative directors at Ogilvy Brasil, Ricardo Sciammarella and Paulo Salles.

LBB> Have you worked with Novo Nordisk before? How did this campaign come about?

Ricardo and Paulo> Since we started working with Novo Nordisk back in 2020, we have challenged ourselves every day to find new approaches for talking about obesity. It started with the theme ‘Health Is the Standard’, which addresses the body-positive trend on social platforms and comes from a premise of self-acceptance, but leaves health in second place. This campaign insight came from ‘fat-shaming’ - which was a theme in 2021- and we were able to bring it to a surprising perspective in 2022. 

Working alongside our data intelligence team, we found an interesting fact: fat shaming usually comes from friends and relatives. Imagine yourself dealing with obesity and someone close to you says one of those phrases, as if it would help you lose weight. 

LBB> You analysed more than 200,000 conversations on social networks and used research from Abeso and SBEM - what were the most surprising or impactful phrases that you discovered family members were using? 

Ricardo and Paulo> When these phrases came to light, we concluded that these were a starting point for a new conversation. When it comes to fat shaming, it happens at home or among your closest friends. This is a great idiosyncrasy. The client is a partner of these associations [Abeso and SBEM] that support patients who deal with obesity. And it was precisely through these partners that we found this data. A deep search was enough to find these phrases. Working alongside our strategy team, we concluded that these phrases are, in fact, aggression disguised as affection. 

(Ricardo Sciammarella and Paulo Salles, creative directors at Ogilvy Brasil)

LBB> How did the idea to set up the teddy bear shop come about? And how did you design the store and the teddies? 

Ricardo and Paulo> Teddy bears are an icon of affection. Our creative team looked for ways to give these icons a new look, to symbolise the aggression that was hidden behind these phrases. That's when the idea of making a different store came up. This is the only store where you don't take anything home.

LBB> How did people react to the store? What were some memorable moments? 

Ricardo and Paulo> People's reactions showed that we were materialising a stigma. We had emotional moments during the shooting. Many of them were so intense that we didn't even put them in the final video. And many of those reactions were among relatives, which is where these situations occur more often. The campaign was very well-received by the public, because people facing the challenge of obesity have identified with these situations. 

LBB> How does the campaign go beyond the activation at Barra Shopping? What’s next for this brand and campaign to expand this message? 

Ricardo and Paulo> While the pop-up store was open, the topic spread across social media. For example, a TikTok user’s video hit a million organic views before the campaign video was released. The next step? It's a surprise! But we can assure you that there are no miracle diets, and that to treat obesity, the first step is to talk to a doctor. 

LBB> What was the hardest challenge you faced on this campaign and how did you overcome it? 

Ricardo and Paulo> Of course, some people pointed out uncertainties when we had first contact with these ideas. But it's times like these when we practise David Ogilvy's eight habits.

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Ogilvy Brasil , Fri, 04 Nov 2022 17:15:00 GMT