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dear boobs, bras, and facebook users

January 8, 2010

usually when the words ‘viral’ and ‘breasts’ are used together, it involves a painful trip to the doctor and a few awkward phone calls with awkward silences. but today the whole world is talking about a viral campaign about boobs and bras that had some people laughing, some rolling their eyes, and others scratching their heads with curiosity.

for those of you still left in the dark about this – this week, my facebook feed was quickly taken over with updates including only a color. as i shift my attention to my blackberry, i’ve noticed status changes there, too. on twitter all the boys have been wondering “what is going on with these colors”? (68 percent of the people i follow are males, who were not part of this stealth campaign).

someone somewhere started a movement to get women to change their status to the color of their bras. this is the message that most women received (in some form or another):

just write the color of your bra in your status. Just the color, nothing else. And send this on to ONLY girls no men …. It will be great to see if this will spread the wings of cancer awareness. It will be fun to see how long it takes before the men will wonder why all the girls have a color in their status… Haha

screen shot of real time facebook search for the color black this morning

now in theory this message has nothing to do with breast cancer awareness. but it did kick off one of the smartest online and mobile viral campaigns to do with public health that i’ve seen. women all over the world changed their updates.

whoever is behind this is a genius: s/he asked something simple (post a color). there were no entry barriers (every girl has a color to pick). it raises curiosity (men have no idea why suddenly women are changing their statuses to colors). it’s slightly controversial (because people will eventually wonder if there is a point and then debate the point).

so here’s my take on if there’s a point or not- there is. by debating this seemingly trivial act, most people will bring up the fact that it is related to breast cancer. many of those conversation will in turn lead to a discussion about breast cancer.

my tribute to this brilliant campaign is this – a reminder that:

  • breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women
  • men can get it, too (and there’s no shame in it)
  • if you’re screened for it regularly, you can increase your chances of early detection. that means you have a higher chance of surviving it.
  • genetics and lifestyle choices affect your chances of breast cancer. you can’t do much about your genes, but you can decide how to live. work out. lose weight. drink less.

oh and in case you were wondering: purple. and yes, i just felt myself up to make sure i’m ok.

did you?

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. Laith m. permalink
    January 8, 2010 2:13 pm

    I was wondering what all the colors is about! Thank you for the explanation.

  2. petitenemesis permalink*
    January 8, 2010 2:33 pm

    glad i could help clear it up, laith

  3. miilee permalink
    January 8, 2010 3:41 pm

    Even I was wondering what it was all abt and then my friend messaged me abt it… pretty cool… !!

  4. anuradha singh permalink
    January 8, 2010 6:39 pm

    great going !!! keep spreading the word !!!

  5. January 8, 2010 7:31 pm

    Beautifully said! Thank you.

  6. January 8, 2010 8:33 pm

    It’s about time the guys got to proclaim the color of their undergarments too!

    http://bit.ly/6AHeFC

  7. Rekka Smurf permalink
    January 8, 2010 8:45 pm

    “so here’s my take on if there’s a point or not- there is. by debating this seemingly trivial act, most people will bring up the fact that it is related to breast cancer. many of those conversation will in turn lead to a discussion about breast cancer.”

    It has been my experience on Facebook and in conversation that the debate does not lead to any discussion about breast cancer but rather fuels an even hotter debate, the age old battle of the sexes. Then begins the parading of such ideas as “you can’t knock us down”, “I’m gonna stand up and fight” and other foolish, unwarranted sayings.

    Yes breast cancer is a terrible thing and I hope one day it can be stopped. I just feel that more can be accomplished by the entire species rather than segregating the sexes.

    • petitenemesis permalink*
      January 8, 2010 10:27 pm

      thanks for stopping by rekka. you do have a valid point that many of the conversations (both on and off facebook) side track into other debates, but that usually is the case with most marketing campaigns. people tend to go on a tangent, but eventually the residual message is about the main point of the campaign. so hopefully next time you see someone going off on the boxers vs bras debate, you’ll reel them in and remind them what this was about.

  8. Esther pic permalink
    January 8, 2010 8:56 pm

    lol! i just checked myself for lumps on reading this:) subconsciously…the power of panic:) lol!

  9. miilee permalink
    January 9, 2010 2:33 am

    I don’t know about how much it has helped breast cancer awareness, but it did help a little in casting aside some long held inhibitions.

    http://wp.me/pDvVG-1O

  10. January 9, 2010 2:36 am

    Well, for what it’s worth, the men did wonder what all the color was for.

    It took me a few minutes to figure this one out…thanks to a girlfriend who told me all about it. I think I saw a couple of guys on my network posting colors, too. I didn’t know they wore bras as well…

    • April 16, 2011 6:11 am

      nYvQwQ Thanks alot – your answer solved all my probmles after several days struggling

  11. January 9, 2010 4:46 pm

    wow! watever it was.. hats off…. it got the majority scratch till their neurons…

  12. Slaintesurvivor permalink
    January 19, 2010 8:52 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with this view point. These were exactly my thoughts and people failed to realize that by dissing the campaign and mocking at its inability to create awareness, they were doing exactly what was intended- having people talk.

    It’s like the AIDS campaign- wearing the red ribbon- it doesn’t tell people how to prevent AIDS, but it surely helps people relate it to a cause.

    People really need to lighten up and look beyond mere words. The beauty in the campaign was exactly that to me.

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