How Red Consultancy and Avon liberated the female nipple to drive awareness of Breast Cancer
Avon’s gutsy move to call on Instagram to lift its ban on the female nipple for Breast Cancer Awareness Month is social marketing at its best.
Managing Editor, BITE
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month Avon asked social media giant Instagram to liberate the female nipple on the platform. The aim: trigger mass conversations around breast health and drive women to take a 'Breast Break' and check themselves on a more regular basis.
Despite 55,000 new cases of breast cancer being recorded in the UK each year, just 23% of women have checked their breasts for signs of cancer. This urgent disconnect was tackled head-on in an innovative campaign for Avon highlighting Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Tackling the inexplicable squeamishness which surrounds women’s bodies, Amy Greene, chair of the Avon Foundation for Women, called on the social media giant to break its ban on nipples. As she explains: “In liberating the female nipple on Instagram for BCAM, we believe we will trigger a mass conversation about breast health – driving women to check their breasts more frequently.”
It is a creative idea which is equal parts innovative and life-saving, by challenging the cultural norms which are holding women back when it comes to checking their breasts and placing Instagram at the heart; the brand is equal parts relevant and challenging.
The brand also created a social film, encouraging women to take a ‘Breast Break’ and make the time to check their breasts. In taking their campaign to Instagram; a platform which time-poor consumers so often spend their time endlessly scrolling, Avon is successfully spreading its urgent message. The brand has engaged its 5 million sales reps as an advocacy army to inform consumers of the need to regularly check their breasts.
In Avon’s recent survey of 1,000 UK women aged over 18, commissioned ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, while 86% of women claimed to understand the importance of self-checks, only 44% confirmed they feel their breasts for signs of cancer once a month or more.
At a time when the role of purpose and profit in marketing is being hotly debated; the cultural significance of this campaign underlines the fact we are asking the wrong question. This purpose-driven campaign underlines the opportunity for brands to challenge stereotypes, shift cultural norms and ultimately drive self-care amongst consumers. By opening a dialogue about regular self-checks and encouraging consumers to take the time to prioritise their own health Avon successfully underlines the fact that its relationship with consumers is more than skin-deep.