Digital Marketing Redux   //   April 10, 2024

To grow U.S. sales, Elvie launches major marketing campaign

British femtech brand Elvie is ramping up marketing in the United States as it looks to grow its business across the Atlantic.

Elvie, which makes wearable breast pumps and pelvic floor trainers, launched in 2013. Although based in the U.K., Elvie considers the U.S. its biggest market, founder Tania Boler told Modern Retail. Some 85% of breastfeeding American women had used a breast pump by the early 2000s, the last time such data was available, per Smithsonian Magazine.

Elvie sells to multiple markets, including Europe and Asia, and has heard from U.S. customers that postpartum care in America falls short. Two months ago, Elvie surveyed 1,000 U.S. women with children to understand the biggest challenges they face after giving birth. The findings, now out in a research report, form the basis of Elvie’s new marketing campaign.

Central to this effort is Elvie’s first big out-of-home ad in the U.S.: a billboard in Times Square in New York City. The billboard is animated and cycles through concerns voiced in the report such as “anxiety,” “bleeding” and “loneliness.” Elvie’s billboard debuted Tuesday and will be up for four weeks.

“We had women tell us so many different symptoms and problems that they feel they’re suffering in silence post-birth,” Boler said. “So we thought, ‘Well, why not put it on a billboard in the busiest square in New York?’… Part of our brand is highlighting issues that people don’t talk about and then doing it in highly unusual ways.”

The rest of Elvie’s multi-channel campaign includes digital and social ads, a dedicated episode of Boler’s podcast “Skin Like a Rhino” and articles on Elvie’s website and that of its research partner Elvie plans to measure the effectiveness of the campaign via visits to its landing page, foot traffic around the billboard and traction on’s website.

Elvie wanted this campaign to shine a light on the obstacles mothers face when it comes to their health in the U.S., Boler said. Elvie is based in the U.K., which has a publicly-funded healthcare system and offers up to 52 weeks of paid maternity leave. On the other hand, the U.S. — where Elvie launched its first breast pump covered by insurance in 2021 — does not have universal health care. The U.S. is also the only high-income country that doesn’t guarantee paid time off, including for parental leave, per The 19th. “To be frank, it is shocking still in the U.S. that women have so little support postpartum,” Boler said.

Until now, in the U.S., Elvie mostly ran small, guerilla-style marketing campaigns, Alexandra Sourbis, Elvie’s senior public relations manager, told Modern Retail. But, after working on its new research report — as well as participating in a March 2024 campaign run by Paid Leave for All — Elvie moved forward with a larger, more interactive campaign in the U.S.

“We have this wealth of information, and we know people are interested in talking about this right now,” Sourbis said. “It’s an election year. There’s so much at stake and so much has been talked about in terms of women’s maternal rights and anything to do with women’s health. It just feels like the right time.”

Elvie, which raised $80 million in funding in 2021, has run other out-of-home campaigns before. In London in 2022, it ran a billboard that dripped water on passersby to draw attention to incontinence. The year before, it set up a “breastfeeding bench” in Belgium. In 2019, Elvie placed inflatable breasts around London as part of its #FreeTheFeed campaign to combat stigmas around breastfeeding in public.

OOH campaigns were popular before the pandemic but took a dip as people stayed home or made more purchases online. Over the past couple of years, however, OOH has bounced back as consumers spend more time outside or on a commute. Traditional advertising methods are also getting a boost as Google phases out third-party cookies.

According to the Out of Home Advertising Association of America, OOH advertising revenue increased 2.1% from 2022 to 2023, accounting for $8.7 billion in total. One in five of the top 100 OOH spenders in 2023 were technology or direct-to-consumer brands, but brands of all types are using OOH ads to capture consumers’ attention.

For example, in December 2022, Peace Out Skincare marketed its new Acne Day Dot by putting up 17 billboards in Los Angeles and positioning ads at the entrance of New York City subway stations. In May 2023, Bombas ran its first OOH campaign in five years to highlight facts about the realities of homelessness. It placed 300 ads throughout New York City, including on billboards, in bus shelters and in newsstands.

Brands may compete for OOH ad space, but the best campaigns are memorable and take the audience into account, Kevin Bartanian, founder and CEO of the OOH media sales company Kevani, told Modern Retail. “OOH that does well tells a story, and in order to tell a story that captures your target audience’s attention, you first need to understand them,” he said.

“You want to sell the experience and the benefits, not the product,” he said. “I think this campaign is particularly interesting because it connects to common challenges and feelings that Elvie’s target market faces, so it will emotionally resonate with their audience.”