I Like It In My Status Update… Or do I?
I’m all for witty wordplay and cyber-citizens amusing themselves with how far they’re able to push puns on their status updates, but the Facebook breast cancer campaign that recently went viral, is frankly, just annoying.
I guess we should be grateful that we aren’t using ads like Save the Boobs, (a blatant objectification of women’s breasts in the name of cancer awareness so bawdy YouTube makes you register online to prove you’re above 18). But really, is there value in reducing the issue of an illness that will afflict roughly 1.3 million women wordwide and take the lives of approximately 465,000 to a spate of clever sexual innuendos on Facebook?
In case you missed the memo, a viral campaign that took Facebook in the first two weeks of October, had women cryptically changing their status updates to “I like it on the couch” or “I like in on the washing machine” or “I like it on the kitchen counter/dining table/piano stool.”
What they’re actually talking about is where they like to put their bags when they get home. Of course. And somehow, like a similar, but less sexually suggestive campaign that came earlier, this was supposed to lead to a more heightened awareness of breast cancer. The question of course is: Did it? No. And I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Digital marketing expert Natasha Fernandez works on the Interactive team at Turner Entertainment Networks Asia (CNN and Cartoon Network). She says that while the campaign engaged thousands on Facebook and got a lot of press for very little cost, the campaign otherwise fell flat.
“It was a very clever way to pique the public’s interest but it seemed to be weak in follow-through,” she told AWARE. “If the objective was to encourage women to get breast screenings, then this information needed to be tied into the mechanics somehow. [Such as to] get users to post the breast cancer awareness URL.”
The campaign made no link (pun intended) to information on the disease, to encouraging regular breast-self-examinations, or to emphasising the importance of regular mammograms. That lack of educational value is where “I like it” gets very dislikeable.
With no educational, financial or humanitarian benefit, it’s hard to see what the “I like it” campaign is actually doing for breast cancer. Is generating buzz about breast cancer enough to move women to get examined? Is it possible to create an effective campaign that does not resort to sexual innuendos? Surely there is a way to engage the public on this important issue that doesn’t trivialise the experiences of those who have survived, died from, or witnessed cancer.
Why, our very own Breast Cancer Foundation of Singapore did this perfectly with their recent print ad campaign which asked: “Are you obsessed with the right things?” referring to a woman’s tendency to be more concerned about her appearance than her health. The ads, which included a bare-breasted woman covered in body-paint, conveyed this message creatively without objectifying the body or its nakedness.
Now that kind of campaign – clever in its delivery but austere in its message – that’s an approach that I like anywhere at all. – Tania De Rozario
For information about breast cancer, how to prevent it and how you can get involved, log onto the Breast Cancer Foundation at www.bcf.org.sg