Evofem, House Rules, Phexxi

By Maria Fontanazza • [email protected]

Evofem Biosciences Inc. took innovation head-on – in the purest sense when it developed Phexxi, the first hormone-free contraception gel for women and when it launched a multi-channel campaign (“House Rules” featuring Emmy Award-winning actress Annie Murphy) around the product from, where else? The vagina. The bold campaign helped Evofem bring home leading industry awards and elevated Phexxi to the top prescription brand in the 2022 OCI. Katherine Atkinson, chief commercial officer at Evofem Biosciences, walked Med Ad Newsthrough the company’s conceptual journey of the campaign and what it meant to give women more control over their bodies – and their sexual and reproductive health.

Katherine Atkinson, Evofem Biosciences

Katherine Atkinson, Evofem Biosciences

Med Ad News: What does it mean for your company to be recognized among the most innovative and creative companies and brands in the industry?

Katherine Atkinson: Evofem’s sole purpose is to improve the quality of lives of women worldwide by providing them with more control over their sexual and reproductive health. The House Rules campaign has furthered our mission by raising awareness of Phexxi with millions of women.

With little to no innovation in birth control methods in the past 20 years, it was critical that we reach our audience in a meaningful and authentic way to raise awareness of the first and only hormone-free, woman-controlled contraception gel. That meant our marketing had to be woman-centered, empowering, bold, and provocative to ensure we could break through, stand out, and reach our target audience with what is important to them. We believe the House Rules campaign did exactly that. We are extremely honored to be recognized for our boldness and creativity.

Med Ad News: What were the objectives and messages of the work for the Phexxi campaign? 

Katherine Atkinson: The goal was to build the Phexxi brand in a bold, motivating way to drive awareness and interest in Phexxi from our target audience. This meant building a breakthrough campaign that could potentially change how birth control is discussed and advertised by bringing intimacy into the conversation, specifically sex and vaginas. We wanted to transport our audience to a world where women call the shots. Phexxi and the hormone-free message would take center stage, so that every woman would know that there is Phexxi: a hormone-free birth control that lets you make the rules. Our vision was to be empowering, bold, provocative, fierce, and woman controlled. We wanted the campaign to be buzz-worthy with a lasting, strong digital and social media presence.

House Rules, Evofem, Phexxi

Through “House Rules” for Phexxi, Evofem sought to build a breakthrough, multi-channel campaign that could change how birth control is discussed and advertised by bringing intimacy into the forefront.

Med Ad News: What creative strategy was used to connect with the target audience?

Katherine Atkinson: We understood that our target audience takes control of all aspects of their lives and aren’t afraid to ask for what they want. These women are comfortable with talking about sex and a brand that wants a place in their sex life shouldn’t be afraid to tastefully go there. They seek authentic communication and connection to brands, influenced by genuine stories. They want a hormone-free, on-demand birth control option that meets their lifestyle. For the House Rules campaign, we teamed up with Emmy-Award winning actress Annie Murphy, who through her smart and humorous delivery, elevated Phexxi and empowered women to take control of their birth control. She shared her own personal birth control journey and authentically shared the many reasons why Phexxi is the right contraceptive for her. In a fun way, we highlighted what the product is and does and talked boldly (but tastefully) about sex and vaginas. To further connect with our target audience, we executed tactics through platforms and channels not typically used by pharma, including social media and influencers. 

Med Ad News: What were the challenges you faced, and how did creativity help you overcome those challenges?

House Rules, Evofem, PhexxiKatherine Atkinson: We received FDA approval and launched during the COVID pandemic in 2020. During that time many, if not most, HCP offices were seeing less patients, not allowing others/partners to join visits, and not allowing sales reps in the office. Additionally, there has been little to no innovation in contraception in approximately 20 years. That means for 20 years, doctors have been counseling on and prescribing the same options, most of which are hormonal options. Millions of women are tired of dealing with the side effects of hormones yet continue to use hormonal contraceptives that don’t meet their lifestyle. Given these circumstances, among others, we decided to put a focus on creating awareness directly with consumers and activate women to try Phexxi.

To reach and resonate with our audience, we knew we had to get creative to stand out – and we did that by focusing on what the product is and does in a fun way, using clever and bold language, partnering with an authentic and relevant celebrity, and executing the campaign through relatable, trusted platforms and channels, not typically used by pharma. But most importantly, we stayed true to our mission to provide women with more control over their sexual and reproductive health. After all, it’s your vagina. You make the rules.