Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What's the best way to fight cancer in advertising?

Regular readers of this blog know how much I hate cancer. So as a social marketer, I'm constantly trying to come to terms with what's the best way to raise awareness and funds to fight the sneaky bastard.

You can attack it head-on, as the Canadian Cancer Society has. You can frighten people about consequences of dangerous behaviour, like indoor tanning, or smoking, or you can spend a little of your ego to get people talking about things such as breast, prostate, or colon cancer.

All of these approaches have their supporters and their detractors. Some dislike shock advertising, while others find silly activities inappropriate for such a serious issue.

Breast cancer is a particularly sensitive issue, since like other women-specific diseases, it brings gender politics into play.

It is in this context that I bring you an interesting gallery of "Bizarre Breast Cancer Ads", from the momlogic blog.

It runs from the unexpected:

To the scary:

To the, ummmm, Freudian:

To the silly:

To the sick:

What do you think is the best way to attack the issue? Or does every little effort help?

On another note, I am pleased to announce that I am also now a contributor to Osocio, a great collaborative blog for the latest in "social advertising" (what I call "social issues marketing") all around the world. If you don't already follow it, please do.


  1. The bottle water ad (can't see the brand as it's too small) is genius.


  2. Funny. i just assumed that it was Evian, because of the pink and blue, but it's not. (Good branding, Evian!)

  3. Found it:

    It's an Aussie brand called Mount Franklin.

  4. And the billboard was actually 3-D:

  5. hmmm: the bottled water one *is* clever, but sadly, the Bisphenol-A content of the plastic waterbottles is (allegedly) leaching chemical estrogen into that water, increasing the likelyhood of breast (and other) cancers.

    Donate to a charity and get the tax receipt, people. Get your water from a tap.