ATLANTA: October is National Breast Cancer Month, and the American
Cancer Society (ACS) is pouring on the PR to raise awareness of the
The national office of the $800-million nonprofit is calling this
year's efforts "unprecedented." The ACS is divided into largely
independent regional divisions that are often responsible for their own
PR, but this year the national office is running a single nationwide
campaign consisting of partnerships, events, and advertising in an
effort to grab the country's attention.
The centerpiece of the campaign is a partnership with ABC and its
morning magazine show The View. Instead of drinking from their signature
mugs during October, the female hosts will be drinking out of pink mugs
(pink being the official color of breast cancer awareness) adorned with
the ACS and The View logos. The mugs can be ordered from ABC.com and
sent to friends, where they will arrive with literature about breast
The ACS will also be contributing content to the show, beginning with
last week's mammogram by Meredith Vieira, one of the show's hosts.
Also for the first time, the national ACS office will be coordinating a
national advertising campaign for its annual "Making Strides Against
Breast Cancer" events. These are walkathons held throughout the country
at the end of the month. A record total of 83 are being held this
The ACS is also in contact with the recently crowned Miss America, Katie
Harman of Oregon, who has claimed breast cancer as her signature
Greg Donaldson, national VP of corporate communications, said the talks
were still in the very early stages, and it was unclear what, if
anything, would come of them.
Not everything is full steam ahead at ACS, however. According to Beverly
Butler, VP of marketing and communications for the California division,
several October initiatives have been called off in light of the events
of September 11. Plans to work with different cities on turning water in
park fountains pink and plans to ask restaurants to turn some of their
food pink have now been abandoned as being "too frivolous" for the
current national mood.