January 20, 2015
23rd Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign from Estee Lauder
Estée Lauder to Weave Pink Ribbons Through the Internet
By STUART ELLIOTT
FOR 2014, the 23rd annual breast cancer awareness campaign from the Estée Lauder Companies will have more of a focus on digital and social media, executives say, and become a year-round initiative rather than be concentrated in October, when Breast Cancer Awareness Month is marked each year.
Those changes in the campaign, which is scheduled to begin this week, reflect how social and digital platforms can help charities and causes break through the clutter. The Internet’s power was demonstrated by the sudden and surprising popularity of a fund-raising campaign under the banner of the Ice Bucket Challenge for the A.L.S. Association, which fights amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Since the challenge went viral late last month, $79.9 million has been raised in online donations, the association reported on Monday, compared with the $2.5 million that was raised during the same period (July 29 through Aug. 25) last year.
Jimmy Fallon, center, taking the “Ice Bucket Challenge” with guests to his late-night show.‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ Has Raised Millions for ALS AssociationAUG. 17, 2014
The Lauder campaigns devoted to breast cancer education and medical research, the company’s largest philanthropic undertakings, have raised more than $53 million since they began in 1992. Although that is no small sum in the realm of cause marketing, those in charge say they hope the modifications being made for this year will help raise the campaign’s profile and, in turn, increase donations.
Estée Lauder brands’ 2014 breast cancer awareness campaign will include the stories of four families affected by the disease.
The changes acknowledge “this modern era of connectedness,” when the public can be reached “on so many different platforms,” said William P. Lauder, executive chairman of the Lauder Companies and a son of Evelyn Lauder, who started the campaigns.
Mr. Lauder called the results of the A.L.S. challenge “fantastic,” adding, “If more diseases or causes can engage a broader population, raising awareness and, hopefully, raising funds, that’s fine.”
Mary Gerzema, vice president for corporate global media of Lauder, who oversees the campaign’s advertising and media elements, said: “It’s nice to see excitement generated for any cause. We hope to generate our own.”
“Social media is becoming an increasingly powerful tool,” she added, because of the success that can be achieved in producing “something people want to join.”
The changes in the Lauder campaign for 2014, which has a fund-raising goal of $5 million, were in the works well before the Ice Bucket Challenge captured the public’s imagination. Among the other new tactics will be the inclusion in all print ads of a campaign hashtag, #BCAstrength, pointing potential contributors to content in social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
To call additional attention to the campaign’s online components, Lauder will donate $1 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for each message or photo deemed “uplifting” that is shared on social media platforms, up to a maximum of $22,000. (The figure acknowledges the campaign’s start 22 years ago.) That will be in addition to contributions the company will make through measures like donating portions of the suggested retail prices of 15 “pink ribbon” products sold under brand names like Aveda, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Estée Lauder, La Mer and Origins.
The campaign will also include digital content like online video clips, shot in a documentary style, in which members of four families describe how their lives were changed by diagnoses of breast cancer. The videos are meant to assist in bringing to life the campaign theme: “Let’s defeat breast cancer. We’re stronger together.”
The videos are in a “storytelling” vein, said Bari Seiden, the vice president for global corporate communications at Lauder who oversees the overall campaign, because “by hearing other people’s stories — people who are diagnosed with breast cancer and those who support them — it helps people to get the help they need.”
The public will be encouraged to “upload their own stories” to the campaign website, she added, and Lauder may select people from those submissions to be featured in subsequent videos.
The decision to support the campaign on a year-round basis rather than only during October was made, Ms. Seiden said, because “when you have breast cancer, it’s not just one month a year.”
The Ice Bucket Challenge is “proof of what can happen when we rally around each other toward a common goal,” she added, “and an example of what happens when a cause resonates with people.”
The Lauder campaigns are created internally and supported by efforts of two agencies — JWT, part of WPP, and OMD, part of the Omnicom Group — to encourage media companies to donate ad space and time. Last year, the value of donated media in the United States was estimated at $3.7 million.
Each year as Breast Cancer Awareness Month nears, those involved in helping the cause hear complaints from critics that ads and products festooned with pink ribbons are superficial ways to deal with the disease. There is even a term for the criticism, “pinkwashing,” and another, “ribbon fatigue,” describing consumer weariness — and wariness — about marketers trying to do well by doing good.
“I have to say, we have not felt any fatigue,” Ms. Seiden said. “If anything, we feel more support now that we’re reaching out more through social and digital.”
Mr. Lauder called the pink ribbon “a symbol for those who choose to care,” adding that critics “have a very simple option: You don’t like it, don’t buy the products.”
“We all have our choice,” Mr. Lauder said. “They have the choice to criticize others for trying to do good. Ask them if they had a bucket of ice poured on their head in the last two weeks.”