Digital media has opened up new ways for breast cancer organizations to capture attention and raise money this month - Breast Cancer Awareness Month - while also giving forums to survivors, their loved ones and supporters.
At the same time, it has also paved the way for brands to establish partnerships, push content, and pledge donations.
For example, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is inviting its 505,000 Facebook fans to upload videos and photos via its "What You Would Have Missed" app to share special moments they would have missed had a loved one not gotten screened. It is also tweeting messages with hashtags like #getscreened and has pushed YouTube videos with the same message.
In partnership with Susan G. Komen, American Airlines and American Eagle have a "Fly for the Cure" campaign this month. In it, consumers can pin a pink ribbon on a virtual pinkboard on American's Facebook page to indicate their location on a map and to make donations. About 1,160 pins have been placed so far. Participants on Twitter can also use the hashtag #flyforthecure with the name of someone they are honoring.
In addition, on October 14, customers at airports in Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago, Miami and New York will find pink gates where they will receive pink #tweetthecure t-shirts and cookies to take on their flights, Huguely says. It is part of what American is calling a global, system-wide "Pink Out" in which employees will wear pink, including pink ribbon scarves and ties.
American will also fly eight Komen-branded pink-ribbon planes throughout the month, which an American rep says represents the statistic that one in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
American will also have pink-themed menus at select Admirals Club lounges, where 10 percent of the proceeds on sales of pink items -- including pink cookies, pink lemonade, pink tea and a selection of other pink beverages -- will go toward American's $1 million fundraising goal. American has pledged to raise $1 million annually for eight years to fund the American Airlines Susan G. Komen for the Cure Promise Grant.
On a smaller scale, limited edition Pink Grapefruit Tic Tacs are available through November. They are part of Tic Tac's "Shake, Share & Care" campaign and its support of CancerCare, a nonprofit that provides free support services to people affected by cancer. According to Christina Caruso, associate brand manager of Tic Tac at Ferrero USA, the Pink Grapefruit Tic Tacs debuted in May 2008.
As part of the campaign, Tic Tac will donate $100,000 to CancerCare. It has also launched the Extraordinary Caregiver Contest on the Tic Tac USA Facebook page, which has 131,000 fans.
In the contest, consumers nominated a deserving caregiver who has dedicated him- or herself to someone affected by cancer. Finalists will be selected and placed on the Tic Tac USA Facebook page where consumers can vote for the most deserving caregivers beginning November 1.
Caruso says the brand received 71 nomination entries, which, after review, were whittled down to 50. Given the effort required to actually write something as opposed to simply liking it, she says the brand was happy with the participation results.
Since the contest launched on August 30, she says Tic Tac has received 23,676 additional Facebook fans and has seen 167 total engagements discussing the contest on its page, including likes on contest posts, comments and wall posts.
In a similar vein, Procter & Gamble and the National Breast Cancer Foundation have teamed up for a fourth year in the Give Hope program, which is designed to increase awareness about the importance of early detection, provide tools for women to create their own plans, and help consumers get involved through simple actions and every day purchases.
On Give Hope's Facebook page, consumers can show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month by creating a badge in honor of a particular person that says, "I'm doing it for..." The badge can be shared, posted to a wall, or made a profile picture.
For each badge created, the company will donate $0.25 to NBCF up to $10,000. Several thousand badges have been created to date. The opportunity exists until October 31.
Save the Ta-Tas
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Save the Ta-Tas, a nonprofit that says it generates fun and funds to fight cancer, launched the Pink Hair Project. In it, consumers that make a donation to Save the Ta-Tas will get their hair turned pink in a digital image. The organization is encouraging people to use the photos all month on social networking sites to show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness.
Donations for pink hair start at $5 and benefit independent cancer research. Rep Elizabeth Rosenberg says about 100 images have been created in two weeks. It's the first year Save the Ta-Tas has had a promotion like this and she says they will start a month earlier next year so people will have their pink hair photos ready to go on October 1.
Save the Ta-Tas is also having more than 30 women blog about breast cancer and how it has affected their lives in what it is calling Pinktober Bloggermania.
As a result of the campaign, Rosenberg says the organization gains about 1,000 new fans on Facebook and 50 followers on Twitter each day. According to its site, the organization has raised $690,000 to date.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.