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Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer, with one in seven women in the US.


Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer, with one in seven women in the US expected to develop the disease during their lifetime according to Breast Cancer Now. By increasing awareness, it is hoped that both women and men become more attentive to the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and spot it while it is more easily treatable.

Brands looking to join the movement must tread carefully due to the sensitivity of the subject. Over the years, many have been accused of exploiting the disease by pink-washing. Essentially, this involves turning a product pink and donating a small percentage of sales to breast cancer charities (in order to increase overall sales of selected products).

With this in mind, I’ve compiled nine particularly powerful breast cancer awareness campaigns mostly chosen for their messaging and creativity, rather than product promotion. Let’s get started!

Grab life by the boobs

US breast cancer charity launched the ‘Grab Life by the Boobs’ campaign earlier this year. This forms part of their ongoing efforts to encourage young people to check their breasts regularly as, while less probable than for those aged over 50, symptoms can occur at any age (and particularly among those with a family history of cancer).

The ad is uplifting and optimistic, featuring real young people who have been affected by breast cancer.

Check it before it’s removed

The Pink Ribbon Foundation nearly broke social media with its campaign that was ‘designed to be deleted’. A series of images posted to the charity’s various social channels went viral before platform moderators began censoring them for violating strict nudity policies.

These images contained a diverse group of women each exposing a naked breast alongside the clever double entendre ‘check it before it’s removed’. Users were encouraged to share the images through their accounts as quickly and far as possible before their inevitable deletion.

Several high-profile celebrities and influencers helped spread the campaign to a larger outreach, including singer Cascada and supermodel Franziska Knuppe.

The charity claimed that a total of 29 million people were reached across various social platforms, contributing to a 27,984% uplift of traffic to their website. Now that’s what I call raising awareness.

Know your lemons

Initially created by designer Corrine Beaumont while studying for her doctorate in Design and Healthcare, the striking ‘Know Your Lemons’ infographic went viral in the early months of 2017.

After losing two grandmothers and a friend to breast cancer, she dedicated her time to producing easy-to-read graphics that would help women recognise common symptoms.

Instead of using images of real breasts – which could strike a little too close to home – Beaumont altered images of lemons arranged inside an egg box. This clever substitution clearly refers to a woman’s anatomy without overwhelming those who may not be as receptive to the idea of self-examination.

Furthermore, the fruit widens the image’s reach, as it is more likely to be displayed in public places than a medically precise diagram. Speaking to Design Curial in 2017, Beaumont explained, “By using a substitute for a breast that’s not connected to the body, such as a lemon, then it makes it possible to do a lot of teaching because it’s a strong metaphor that’s not already used.”

Your Man Reminder

Rethink Breast Cancer took a risk in 2011 by launching a cheeky and humourous ad to tackle the topic and promote its self-examination app ‘Your Man Reminder’.

The ad begins by resembling one of those cheesy, overly-scripted health advice videos that we’ve all seen in a waiting room at a doctor’s or dentist’s surgery.

That is until Dr Rothaford explains, ‘studies show that women are more likely to watch a video if it features a hot guy’ before handing over to a number of said ‘hot guys’ to demonstrate the checks.

Everyone can help someone

This year, M&S have partnered with Breast Cancer Now to produce a series of short clips designed to be shared on their social channels.

Real women who have been affected by breast cancer share their experiences of coping with the disease and finding support. Emotive and comforting, these posts have accumulated significant traction on social, attracting tens of thousands of views each on Instagram alone.