Rethinking outreach

Rethink Breast Cancer takes inspiration from Vogue for its latest branded content push.
rethink breast cancer

Rethink Breast Cancer is making sure young women know there is a resource that speaks to them in their own voice during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Even though many organizations – breast cancer-related or otherwise – step up their awareness campaigns every October, Alison Lawler-Dean, marketing and communications director at Rethink Breast Cancer, says standing out is not the main challenge for Rethink. The organization’s target of women under 40 allows it to differentiate itself from others, but that also means reaching out to a far smaller audience.

“It has been a challenge to get our information out to enough of them,” she says. “At our in-person group sessions, sometimes we only get a few people out because there’s only a few people in that age group that have been diagnosed. If we do things on a digital platform, we can make sure that we reach them.”

That digital platform now includes a “LiveLaughLearn” video series, spun out of the group sessions of the same name that Rethink holds. Each video asks a woman who has dealt with breast cancer for one piece of advice she’d like to give, which ranges from how to prepare for chemotherapy to how to wear a bathing suit after a mastectomy.

“We didn’t see anyone producing content that was practical and resourceful, but also had high production value that is stylish and hip for a young female audience,” Lawler-Dean says. “This is kind of our first attempt to editorialize the information out there, because the women we try to reach are looking at Vogue and Refinery29, and that’s how they are used to seeing things – in that beauty packaging.”

The videos were produced by Jessica Edwards of branded media production company Clark Stanley. The first five videos went live last week to coincide with the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Lawler-Dean says Rethink is currently getting funding in place to reach a goal of posting one new video a week. She says the plan is to do them in groups of five around a particular theme, which will once again range from the heavier (how to talk to young children that women under 40 might have) to beauty and fashion (how to do makeup when eyelashes fall out after chemotherapy).

“We’re pulling that information out to make sure you’re learning a lot in a way that’s more light-hearted and stylish,” she adds. “Doing that makes the message a little more easy to relate to compared to some of the heavier practical resources. There’s a lot of fear in this realm, and doing something more down-to-earth helps people so much.”

With that strategy in mind, Rethink has also produced a digital magazine, Cancer Fabulous Diaries, based on the blog entries of Sylvia Soo. Diagnosed with breast cancer at 25, Soo began posting diary entries online after failing to find anyone her own age to speak to about what she was going through in her home town of Edmonton. Soo then reached out to Rethink, which has taken the spirit of her diaries and added tips, interviews and stories in an editorial format. The digital resource was edited by Diane Peters and Ronnilyn Pustil with art direction from Clayton Budd.