Mind the Pleasure Gap Demo Day

A look behind the stigma-smashing scenes of The Case for Her’s first-ever demo day

For most sponsors, the D&AD New Blood Awards is a way to engage the emerging creative talent that will potentially carry their advertising campaigns forward into the future. We’re a little different. For us, sponsoring a New Blood brief offers an opportunity for us to talk about female health in unexpected spaces — something we know is key to breaking taboos and changing social norms. Also, it’s a lot of fun, and we like fun.

When emerging creatives select a brief for the D&AD New Blood Awards, they set forth on a deep-dive into an issue and carry those learnings forward into their careers and lives. The content created will influence the judges who select the winners and live on long after the brief is closed as educational institutions and programs can access and revisit the briefs as part of their curriculum.

This year, rather than leaving our fabulous submissions to gather dust, we decided to try something slightly different. We approached our 13 Pencil winning teams with an idea, a demo day. For the teams that wanted to move forward with their ideas, we would give them a platform to find potential partners, mentors, and collaborators that could take these ideas and implement them or bring them to the next level.

Preparing for the big day

In preparation for Demo Day, we sent the teams to a virtual workshop with Teen Vogue, where they learned about what it means to be an entrepreneur from pioneers in the beauty and wellness industry. In this workshop, the audience was split into groups where everyone had the opportunity to give an elevator pitch in front of their designated powerhouse pro — for my group, that pro was Deepica Mutyala, founder of Live Tinted. To my (very delighted!) surprise, two of our group’s four pitches were from our brave Mind the Pleasure Gap cohort.

The next step was preparing the presentations. Each team had three minutes to wow the audience, so making the most of that time was critical. Public speaking is something that I have studied and practiced over the past decade, so I set up one-on-one consultations with each of the teams to help them navigate through their pitches. Here are some of the tips I shared with the teams:

  • You only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention, so use that time wisely. Start with a question or a bold statement that draws them in and hints at the problem your product will solve.
  • Inspire curiosity, don’t try to tell them everything. The goal isn’t to answer every question; the goal is to get to the next meeting.
  • Focus on what makes you stand out from your competition. Why are you the best solution to this problem?

Meet the Demo Day teams

We couldn’t be more proud of our amazing demo day teams. From educational games to community awareness projects, each team presented their vision for how to bring their New Blood Awards submission to the next level.

Am (i) Normal?: Normalizing the vulva through simplified drawings that encourage open conversation and exploration into female pleasure. A social awareness campaign will help build the brand before launching a forum where anyone with a vulva can come for a safe place to discuss their sexual health and wellness.

Lucy and Charlotte from ‘Am (i) Normal?’ recently wrote a guest post for us about the whole process — from coming up with the idea to winning a Pencil. Check it out here.

Be Your Own First: To normalize masturbation and encourage young women and non-binary people to get to know their bodies, The First-Timer kit and guide will introduce them to their first self-pleasure experience. Be Your Own First reimagines self-pleasure as self-care and tackles the fear and stigma around masturbation.

Clitar Hero: Taking the awkwardness out of sex-ed with a touch screen game that matches science-based pleasure techniques with women empowering music. Clitar Hero has gamified the vulva in a fun and educational way that will encourage young women to explore their pleasure preferences.

Lady Library: The Lady Library is a catalog of essential facts and visuals about sexual health for menstrual health product packaging. By providing unique and meaningful content that women will feel proud to purchase, this campaign will genuinely make a product stand out from the competition.

Operation-O: A simple and powerful in-browser game that allows women to explore their pleasure potential through a virtual version of themselves. It’s fun, empowering, non-judgmental, and non-intimidating education that is backed by science. Get your body buzzing.

Own Your Parts: A research project that aims to explore what pleasure means to young women and non-binary people. The results will be used to design a series of content that will stimulate discussions and empower young people to self-educate and shape the future of their pleasure.

Play For Pleasure: A series of educational games that teaches girls about their sexual health by turning tapping the screen into flicking the bean. The embedded facebook pixel allows you to track their progress in the game and saves their data, making it possible to retarget them with knowledge and products tailored to their needs.

The Vulva Visibility Issue: A physical magazine or book designed to guide girls and women of any age through the process of discovering their own vulvas. Built with a mirror in the center, it allows for self-discovery and education through scientifically accurate information presented in a human and non-intimidating way.

After their pitch, each team was presented with questions from our expert guest Erin Stadler — Managing Director of Boomtown Accelerator in Boulder, Colorado. At Boomtown, Erin works to challenge the next set of status quos around startup and corporate partnerships. This founders-first approach is helping to build impactful experiences that challenge and accelerate innovation.

Thank you, Erin, for being our Q&A Master of the evening and posing such thoughtful questions to our teams.

Moving forward

The Mind the Pleasure Gap Demo Day was a learning experience for us, as much as it was for our presenters, and we have received incredibly encouraging and energizing feedback from everyone involved. With this incredible experience behind us, we can’t wait to do it again.

Our partner for the 2021 New Blood Awards is Refinery29, and we are asking for submissions that will change the conversation around menopause. For this brief, we want to see material that will tackle the social stigmas and lack of awareness around menopause — especially as an issue affecting people of any age. So if you know an emerging creative talent, please share our brief; we would love to have them on board (and maybe feature them in our next demo day!).

/ Lindsey Higgins, Communications Officer, The Case for Her

The Case for Her is a philanthropic investment portfolio addressing the key women’s health issues of menstruation and female sexual health.

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