Always Intimate Words

The Cannes Lions Health Awards Grand Prix in Health and Wellness has been awarded this year to Leo Burnett Mexico for “Intimate Words”, a health campaign sponsored by Procter & Gamble’s Always brand. The “Intimate Words” campaign sought to empower indigenous women outside of Oaxaca, Mexico by finding a way to educate them on cervical cancer, which is currently the leading cause of death in their community. The problem? There are no words for the female reproductive system in the women’s indigenous language due to cultural taboo, leaving women unable to explain their symptoms and prohibiting them from receiving the treatment they need. To solve this, Leo Burnett Mexico enlisted the help of sociologists, doctors and linguists to work with the women and create the missing words.

Always Intimate Words books

The book, called Intimate Words or Diidx xgáatz Zapotec, was developed by linguists, doctors and Zapotec women of St. Bartholomew Quialana, where 70% of inhabitants speak only Zapotec. The terms designed not only give names to the bodies, but also explain their function based on the Zapotec culture. The uterus is called Li’z Bdo’o but is defined as “Baby House”. The ovum is called Xbí’in Una’ay means “seed of the woman”. The fallopian tubes are “the way of the seed of the woman,” known now in Zapotec as Xnesiou Bíint BTTN. The ovary is Xpí’in Una’a, “where the seed of the woman born”. “The door of the house Baby” is the cervix and is written in Zapotec as Rú’u Liiz Bdo’o. The vagina is Rdxa’a Za’a Bttnt, literally “where the couple is united.”

Always Intimate Words - Diidx Xgaatz

The creative team at Leo Burnett Mexico provide their thinking behind the campaign:

“Our specific objective was to empower indigineous women in Mexico by finding a way to take on the leading cause of death in indigineous communities which is cervical cancer. The execution went out as planned and now these women that used to have no words to name their feminine reproductive system have a book filled with words so they can know their body and be able to communicate effectiveley with doctors to diagnose and treat this serious illness, therefore, empower their lives.”

“Cannes Lions Health returns for its second year to celebrate the highest level of creative brilliance in healthcare communications,” said Mark Tutssel, Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett Worldwide. “The Grand Prix for P&G Always ‘Intimate Words’ recognizes the power of transcendent ideas rooted in a deep understanding of human beings. Winning this highly coveted Grand Prix for the second year in a row is a testament to the power of creativity that resides within Leo Burnett Worldwide. I applaud our Mexico City office for their performance and for helping Mexico win its first-ever Grand Prix.”

Intimate Words Credits

The Always Intimate Words campaign was developed at Leo Burnett Mexico, Mexico City, by creative directors Fernando Bellotti, Sebastian Garin, Emilio Solís, creative director/art director Hugo Muñoz, copywriters Ana Luna and Beatriz Valencia.

The case film was produced at Postal Films.