Breast Cancer Awareness

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the words “breast cancer”?  Chemotherapy? Suffering? The pink ribbon? Perhaps someone you know who has had it?

I automatically think of the Race for the Cure and breast cancer awareness in general.  The Race for the Cure brings awareness to the masses and hope to all affected women and their families, as does the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Neither of these organizations would would be nearly as successful without the advertisements and publicity that surround them.

With advertisements comes the need for a message and the potential for the message to fail if not presented correctly. So what would be the best angle for these organizations to take? Some of their approaches may surprise you:

Whoever thought breast cancer couldn’t be sexualized was wrong. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation played off the idealization that surrounds breasts to grab their audiences attention.  The headline “Expose the Truth” placed directly over the woman’s breasts brings the focus directly to that area and implies that the breast are what should be exposed. The main message of the ad is: “Breast cancer will be diagnosed in one out of seven women in your lifetime. But now 97.5% will survive. Research makes the difference,” but I doubt that’s the first thing viewers notice.  The pervasive message is the one that stands out the most.

Race for the Cure took a slightly different approach…

“We can live without our hair. We can live without our breasts. We cannot live without our hope for a cure.” This advertisement is a perfect example of a possible image – their are no hidden messages and the organization did not attempt to normalize or glamorize its cause. The woman featured obviously survived (or is battling) breast cancer and will directly benefits from the fundraiser.  It may not be the most visually appealing advertisement, but its message cannot be mistaken.

Which advertisement/organization do you think spread breast cancer awareness more effectively? The one that sexualized disease or the one who laid it out for exactly what it is?


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