Making Strides with Billboards: Promoting Breast Cancer Awareness
November 2, 2023
When we think about October, pink is one of the first things that comes to mind (besides Halloween of course). Throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month, pink ribbons surface, serving as a symbol that brings the issue of breast cancer to the forefront. But Breast Cancer Awareness Month is more than just a pink ribbon — it’s an effort to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of breast cancer through education. It has become a significant initiative and brands are stepping up to align their messaging with this month-long event. When it comes to out of home, utilizing America’s most visible media network to educate, raise awareness, and align with the event seems like a no-brainer.
In the United States, someone dies from breast cancer every 14 minutes, making it one of the leading causes of death for women in the U.S. And let’s not forget the fact that it can occur in men too.
So, let’s get down to the harsh reality of this disease — What makes breast cancer fatal? Once the cancer has spread beyond the breast to other organs or parts of the body, this is considered stage IV, also known as metastatic breast cancer. There is no cure to this prognosis, but treatment is aimed at helping people live longer with their cancer. Most of the money raised towards breast cancer goes towards early detection and prevention, which doesn’t help those whose cancer already metastasized.
After losing my mom to metastatic breast cancer in May of 2021, the urge to raise awareness became even stronger. Watching someone you love battle this disease makes you realize that stage four needs more. This passion led to OUTFRONT’s collaboration with METAvivor in honor of National Metastatic Breast Cancer Day. My mom introduced me to METAvivor, a non-profit organization dedicated to those living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer (MBC). 100% of donations go towards stage 4 MBC research, as well as providing education, advocacy, and support programs for patients.
It all started with a direct message to METAvivor on Instagram asking if they were doing anything for National Metastatic Breast Cancer Day, taking place on October 13th. They sent me a quick response telling me about #LightUpMBC, a virtual event consisting of patient stories and celebrity guests, that shines a light on the importance of critical funding for research. I connected with the Campaign Director, Tami Eagle Bowling, who’s living with MBC. We hopped on a quick phone call and chatted about the campaign and how they had a billboard donated last year, but this year it’s under construction, leaving them without another option. At that moment, I quickly knew that I needed to help. I immediately brought up the idea to my coworkers and before you know it, I was told to give METAvivor the opportunity to showcase their message in the one and only Times Square.
With a little over one week until the 13th, I knew we had to get all hands on deck to make this happen. METAvivor volunteers quickly got the creative over to me and all the steps to formulate a campaign were completed, and it was time to go live! The campaign ran on October 12th and October 13th and shed light on metastatic breast cancer, directing viewers to tune into #LightUpMBC happening at 8:30PM. I got the chance to head down to Times Square to meet up with Tami and Broadway star, Matt DeAngelis. After getting some pictures of them in front of The Cube, she couldn’t stop expressing her appreciation and love for the donated space. Less than an hour later I received a text thanking me for contacting her and telling me how grateful she was. Meanwhile, I’m the one grateful for people like her who are working tirelessly to raise awareness.
Breast cancer awareness is a cause that deserves our attention and support, and OOH provides a powerful platform to reach a broad audience, convey meaningful messages, and evoke emotions that drive positive action. By leveraging this impactful medium, we can make significant strides in the fight against breast cancer. Together, we can raise awareness and make a difference in the lives of countless individuals and families.
Author: Grace Brasky, NY Marketing Coordinator @ OUTFRONT