Komen rebrands after 25 years using promise rings to engage

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has a rightful claim to the label of cause marketing innovator. Just 25 years ago, newspapers avoided the words "breast cancer."

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has a rightful claim to the label of cause marketing innovator. Just 25 years ago, newspapers avoided the words "breast cancer."

Many predicted its first Race for the Cure would flop. But legacy can only do so much. With its 25th anniversary nearing, the group sought to engage a new generation while re-engaging its original constituency, said Emily Callahan, director of communications.

IDEA: The foundation decided to tie the rebranding effort to its 25th anniversary, which allows the news to continue all year long. The new name is Susan G. Komen for the Cure. "It's rare you'd do both at the same time," said Chris Orzechowski, director of brand marketing for Komen. "This really gives us a strong sense of a mission. The name leaves no doubt about what we're trying to do."

TOOLS: In addition to the new name and logo, the foundation launched 25komen.org, a Web site that allows users to create a custom "promise circle" that e-mails friends they enter into the system. Komen is also selling promise rings (the rubber rings sell for $5 and come in sets of two). Hugh Laurie was spotted wearing one as he gave his Golden Globes acceptance speech, while stars like Clint Eastwood have also been seen sporting them.

MEASUREMENT: While Komen will conduct traditional measurement like media placements, Web site traffic, and promise ring sales, there's also a lofty long-term target. "With cause marketing we're trying to move the needle in a real way," Callahan said. "We are trying to lower the incidence rate and the mortality rate."

Organization:  Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Campaign:  Rebranding for organization's 25th anniversary
PR team:  Weber Shandwick
Other marketing:  Adv. (Tracy Locke), Branding (Duffy & Partners)
Launch:  January 22, 2007
Budget:  About $1 million

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