Swiping right for breast cancer awareness

Rethink Breast Cancer takes its hunks to Tinder as part of its continuing digital play.


Rethink Breast Cancer recently joined the ranks of brands looking to reach a younger audience on Tinder with a stunt aimed at getting women to remember to check themselves for signs of the disease using a little eye candy.

In 2012, Rethink Breast Cancer launched the “Your Man Reminder” app, using a sexy, shirtless model of the user’s choice to serve a notification to do their regular breast self-exam to check for potential signs of breast cancer. Since its release, the app has been downloaded over 300,000 times, with the spot promoting its launch, which was named a global “Ad Worth Spreading” by TED, having been viewed over 7.2 million times. The app has recently relaunched, with a more streamlined functionality and the addition of more guys and girls to the roster of models.

rtbc3Building off the popularity of those hunks, the organization and John St. (who helped build the original app), promoted the relaunch by taking the models and giving them full profiles on Tinder. When a user swiped right on a guy or girl that grabbed their attention, they were sent a reminder to do their regular breast exam. Those that responded positively to the message were also sent a link to download the “Your Man Reminder” app so they could continue to get notifications.

The stunt ran in Toronto for two weeks during the Pan Am Games to capitalize on the possibility of a spike in Tinder users in the area, similar to what happened at the most recent Olympics. During its run, the campaign directly reached over 2,000 young women.

Alison Lawler-Dean, marketing and communications director at Rethink Breast Cancer, says the stunt was a way to both capture the fun idea at the core of the first “Your Man Reminder” campaign and to get that message directly to the young people it looks to serve (one recent survey found 40% of people under the age of 35 had used some kind of dating app or website).

“As an organization, we focus on young women specifically to stay aware and on top of changes in their body so they can stay ahead of breast cancer,” Lawler-Dean says of Rethink’s mission, which also includes speaking frankly about some of the issues outside of prevention, like dating or raising a family after you’ve been diagnosed. “Going after a young demo means using the newest methods to capture their attention. And when it comes to breast health, the earlier these habits can be instilled in women, the better the outcomes are in the long term.”

The Tinder stunt is an example of a recent push towards more digital messaging from Rethink Breast Cancer. The organization has recently rebranded and launched a new web presence, including “Your Man Reminder” accounts on Twitter and Instagram to get reminders to women who might not want to use an app, as well as to provide messaging that is more flexible and easily updated.

“Being more accessible digitally just helps broaden our reach,” Lawler-Dean says. “We’ve been creating more video content and using more digital tools. The conversations that used to take place in the small support groups we used to run, we’re doing more of that online so we can get the information to more people.”