Breast Cancer Awareness gets new charge from groups' latest efforts

The pink ribbon has become an iconic symbol of Breast Cancer Awareness in October, and this year some brands and organizations are boosting their efforts to take that awareness to the next level.

Breast Cancer Awareness gets new charge from groups' latest efforts

The pink ribbon has reached iconic status as a symbol of breast cancer awareness, especially each October. Here’s a look at how organizations are working to take their campaigns to the next level this month.

Avon Foundation for Women
The group’s "Check Yourself" campaign, along with an accompanying video featuring singer, songwriter, and choreographer Paula Abdul doing the "Check Yourself" dance, was released on October 1. On Tuesday, Avon distributed the #CheckYourself video compilation, consisting of Avon associates, representatives, and others in more than a dozen countries doing the dance.

According to the group, more than 27 markets were involved with the campaign with support form Avon Products. The compilation video was the result of a pro bono initiative with Moon Dog Media.

Abdul’s video has been viewed more than 65,600 times since going live more than a week ago.

"Our breast cancer crusade has been around since 1992," said Debbie Coffey, VP of global marketing communications and PR at Avon. "Every October, we feel a great responsibility to make sure that our work is being broadcast around the word as loud as possible."

She added that #CheckYourself tries to "cut through that confusion" women face in trying to understand the facts about breast health. Put simply, the three steps are "know your risks, know your body, and talk to your doctor," Coffey said, adding that the "mix of entertainment and eduction" is what makes the foundation’s message powerful.

"It’s about bringing very impactful, important information to light, but in an educated way that makes people take notice," she said.

The Avon Foundation generated buzz for the campaign with an exclusive story on Entertainment Tonight on September 30, which included a behind-the-scenes look at the #CheckYourself video shoot and an interview with Abdul, said Coffey. Articles on the effort also appeared on sites such as and Coyne PR released a PSA as part of a ramped-up effort to "bust some myths about risk," said Erin Drelick, senior account supervisor at the firm. One major misconception is how much of a factor heredity plays in making someone at risk for the disease.

"The biggest part of the PSA is highlighting the fact that 10% of breast cancer is hereditary," she explained, adding that the group wanted to hone in on that misunderstanding — many women believe it’s much higher — and talk about "simple lifestyle changes" that can lower risk.

Pamela Green, director of marketing at, said the group’s research has shown that there’s a "huge knowledge gap," and many women are not actually aware of what causes breast cancer. Risk factors can include daily lifestyle choices, such as "what you eat, what you drink, and what you put on your skin," she said.

The organization wants to get the attention of women ages 19 to 40 with its prevention messaging because breast cancer isn’t necessarily on their radar in an impactful way, Green added.

"Visually, we had a little bit of fun with the imagery at the end," said Rob Schnapp, VP and creative director at Coyne. "All of those images are empowering things someone can do."

Project Pink Tank
Agency Bullfrog + Baum developed Project Pink Tank, for which the firm asked various hotel and restaurant clientele to put a creative spin on the pink lady cocktail, said Jennifer Baum, president and founder of the firm. A portion of the proceeds from each menu item will go to a breast cancer charity of the restaurant’s choosing, and a list of participating restaurants is posted on the Project Pink Tank website.

The portal also highlights a company-wide campaign and links to a Tumblr page filled with pink photos and imagery. The firm is using the hashtag #PinkTank. Baum noted that even client Bobby Flay got involved with the effort, and actress and comedian Tina Fey can be spotted on the site, as well.

Baum said next year the firm may reach out beyond its client roster to boost participation.

"It’s not just about getting your clients in the media; it’s about who else we can touch and who else we can make aware," she said. "I wanted to stand for something more."

This story was updated to correct the date of the launch of Avon's video, which was stated incorrectly due to an editing error.

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