Breast Cancer Society of Canada reaches out to multicultural communities

The non-profit is bringing underrepresented audiences into its fundraising efforts.

breast-cancer-walkThe Breast Cancer Society of Canada (BCSC) is reaching out to a more diverse range of communities to drum up interest in its annual Mother’s Day Walk on May 12 in Mississauga.

BCSC tapped multicultural agency Monsoon Communications to partner with Toronto agency Old Ad Guys to create Punjabi and Chinese collateral in addition to its English language promotion, including radio spots in both Mandarin and Cantonese. Monsoon will map out a national strategy with BCSC to reach more diverse communities as part of a long-term strategy once the 2019 Walk is done.

According to Neil Wiernik, director of marketing and communications at BCSC, communicating effectively with multicultural audiences, “requires cultural insights and a sensitivity to the personal issues faced by patients and survivors of breast cancer.”

Wiernik says breast cancer affects everyone, but that in the past, campaigns traditionally focused on Caucasian women. With “Stepping Forward Together,” he says, BCSC is reaching out communities that are traditionally not marketed to in fundraising campaigns. The non-profit is starting with the most commonly spoken languages in its major markets, but has an eye on expanding the list in future years.

The fact that BCSC directly funds breast cancer research, Wiernik says, is how it differentiates itself, and the “Stepping Forward Together” campaign ad copy directly asks viewers to “support breast cancer research.”

“People still think we’re an organization connected to the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and even related American organizations,” he says. “We are working very hard to set ourselves apart.” This includes, he says, emphasizing that the organization raises funds for cancer research, and not patient support, advocacy or other types of charitable outreach. This is reflected in the hashtag the charity uses, “#researchmatters.”

With its two major campaigns, Wiernik says, the charity targets different groups. With the Mother’s Day Walk, BCSC is looking at anyone over the age of 13 and is seeking to educate people at a young age to understand the threat of breast cancer and to create a culture of philanthropy as people come of age. The charity’s “Dress for the Cause,” an event which urges fundraisers to wear pink to show their support during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, targets working age people predominantly.

The campaignincludes online, social media, print, radio, TV and OOH in Toronto transit.