Bums. We don’t tend to talk about them. And it means that haemorrhoid sufferers end up delaying treatment, sometimes forever.

That was a real problem for the UK’s leading haemorrhoid treatment, Anusol.

How do you build your brand when the condition it treats is so embarrassing that sufferers would rather not be able to sit down than seek help?

Previous Anusol work was wallowing in shared embarrassment, epitomising the category norm: rational, targeted sales activation - ashamed to be vocal about a common affliction.

This approach was doing serious damage. Sufferers had no reason to believe one brand was different from another; sales and share were in steady decline, the category stagnant.


The brand needed to build strong mental associations to stand out and be chosen. 

It sparked a strategic shift, what if Anusol stopped thinking like a market leader and started behaving like a challenger? 

Our strategy was to embrace Anusol’s distinctive directness - we identified this through reading Anusol’s Amazon reviews and noticing the difference in tone vs their competitors - and use it to take on the piles taboo in a humorous and engaging way. 

Being direct – especially in a stigmatised category - can be freeing. You can destroy taboo and embarrassment by being completely unashamed.

Anusol's Amazon reviews were far more playful and humorous than those of their competitors.


Bum’s The Word is the taboo-busting campaign designed to attract attention, surprise and elicit a positive emotional response – while also delivering on benefit communication and education. 

It’s built on distinctive assets: everyday objects that look like bottoms and anuses. This gets straight to the nub of the matter without being crude or scary.

Every detail aims to reduce stigma: the language is everyday, the typeface is friendly, the music is gently comical, and the VO is by cheeky taboo-buster Miriam Margolyes.


Bum’s The Word was transformational for the Anusol brand and the category. 

The campaign has been shortlisted for a Marketing Society Brave Award and is in this year's IPA Effectiveness reckoning.

It increased sales in supermarkets because shoppers became more comfortable putting it in their baskets with their Rice Krispies.

It drove category growth by 20% whilst all competitors declined. And ...

historic share high
new sales baseline post campaign


BUM'S THE WORD (redefining a category)

Behaving like a challenger to grow the category and protect No.1 status.

Feel free to get in touch

We'd love to chat

The Gate

020 7927 3555 jamie.elliott@thegateworldwide.com