BOOBS! Do I have your attention now?

October 16, 2009 at 12:03 pm 8 comments

amiel_weisblum_pinkribbonAs most of us may know, October is breast cancer awareness (BCA) month.

Everywhere is the usual pink ribbon logo, pink coffee mugs and lipstick cases, and even pink football jerseys with spots of brown from playing on the muddy field. But the busty powers-that-be have put pink in the corner, instead focusing on a new kind of awareness: BOOBS!

Boobs are everywhere. They are on billboards, public service announcements, and even on your girlfriend.

Though feminists groups are probably having a field day, I think this is an excellent marketing idea for creating buzz about BCA within the boobless sex.

Let’s take a minute to break this down:

Who is the target audience? Men.

What is their self-interest? Men like boobs.

Why should they act? Men want the boobs to stay.

It’s really that simple.

The sex symbol of boobs is being used market awareness to men. To me, this makes sense. After all, what they’re selling is, technically, breasts.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing BCA articles featuring attractive women in men’s magazine, such as GQ or Esquire. Hell, maybe even Playboy will jump on the BCA bandwagon.

The basic conclusion is this: Pink ribbons are for girls. Boobs are for men.

Now, where can I find a boobies calendar supporting breast cancer for my boyfriend?

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. steve fox  |  October 19, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    I’m not one of the “boob-less” who needs this sort of degrading material in order to care. I have a wife and a daughter, so I care. My mother died of cancer, so I care. I have a brain, so I care. I hope we haven’t stopped so low that we think we need to think of the “benefits of boobs” in order to care – I want be a part of a far more intelligent species than that implies.

    Reply
  • 2. mikinzie  |  October 19, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Steve,
    I too, have had someone close to me die from breast cancer. In writing this post, I am in no way trying to “dehumanize” or “degrade” the issue. However, the point I was trying to make was this: if you want to get a “target audience” to care about something, you have to reach them by using things they care about already (ie “self-interest”).

    Most young males, 18-25 years old, do not have a wife or daughter to worry or care about, let alone a mother who has fought the breast cancer battle. So in their mind, why SHOULD they care? It does not affect them as of right now, so to them, it doesn’t matter.

    But what BCA marketing people did was identify the population that was the least involved with BCA: young males. They probably did a poll or other research to see what matters most to this target market: that being “breasts” and “sex” (you can’t argue with stats- eavesdrop on your male students conversations sometime or take a peek at their poster-covered dorm walls and you’ll see what I mean).

    I think this approach to promoting BCA is genius given the target market. But since you are not part of this demographic, then it is safe to assume that you won’t “get” the message . However, doesn’t matter that you didn’t “get” the message or even like the message, because the fact is this message was not intended for you. You are not the target audience. They already have you (a male who has wife and daughters, and a male who has a family member affected by breast cancer) on their side.

    If you take a look even just on the Ferris campus, you will see a lot more males attending BCA events and wearing “save the boobs” shirts- proceeds that most likely went towards BCA. A 20 year old guy isn’t going to wear a pink ribbon, but he will wear a shirt that says “boobs.” It may be means to an end, but if the means isn’t hurting anyone, and it’s supporting a good end, then why not?

    Reply
  • 3. Sandy Gholston  |  October 19, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    I think it’s important for people not to let the marketing methods spoil the good that can come out of these kinds of campaigns. There are lots of intelligent people who might be more likely to be involved if we can get thier attention. If these kinds of commercials and T-shirts can get the attention of younger guys, and create awareness for breast cancer at the same time, then I am cool with the “I LOVE BOOBS” shirts I’ve seen or the other kinds of shirts that are out there. The ultimate goal is to create awareness. If it brings more people to the table of consciousness then I think it is a positive.

    Personally, I am very upset I was not sold one of those “I LOVE BOOBS” shirts. Mikinzie, I need you to get on that for me.

    Reply
  • 4. Morgan Toms  |  October 19, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    The whole point is to raise awareness and money for research. It’s all marketing my dear! Whatever works. There are a lot more degrading advertisements out there. To me this is not degrading, it is not portraying woman in a demeaning light. It’s focusing on their breasts, which is what it is, breast cancer. If we can promote beer commercials with girls in tight cleavage bearing shirts, why not breast cancer awareness!

    Reply
  • 5. Leah  |  October 19, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    I agree with both sides of the argument: there are plenty of young men who are intelligent enough to support a cause without “sex appeal” being the reason for their support, yet I feel this marketing strategy actually applies to everyone, male or female. There is both negative and positive marketing, which can make people feel either sad or happy about a cause, and each approach works in it’s own way (i.e. negative marketing=images of starving children, causing feelings of sadness or pity which then encourage support). I feel that cancer of any type is a cause which can use some positivity with support, as it is for me, and many other people, a huge, scary possibility just by itself. Celebrating what cancer threatens in a positive way is a good, innovative way to encourage support. However, I, unfortunately, don’t see myself wearing a t-shirt proclaiming “BALLS” in order to encourage support for testicular cancer. But, on second thought, if it was marketed well….maybe I would! In my opinion, saying that boobs are for men, while pink ribbons are for women, is too restrictive; I like to think that breast cancer should be supported by everyone, no matter what way it is promoted; I personally would much rather wear a t-shirt that explicitly says what I support than a ribbon that many people would have to ask what it may signify. A pink ribbon could be mistaken for any female-only cancer, such as ovarian cancer, if you weren’t aware. For those of us who have been touched by cancer’s icy claws and the horrors of its reality; humorous, positive support is refreshing. My grandmother passed away from colon cancer, and I would gladly wear a humorous t-shirt promoting healthy colons for the cause, instead of a blue ribbon, which is too vague.

    Reply
  • 6. Patrick Bishop  |  October 19, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Like it or not, sex sells and it’s here to stay. It seems to me this is a great marketing strategy to reach their target audience of young men. It’s not unlike the strategy used in the past to reach young men about the safety of seat belts — appeal to their self interests. Beyond being effective, the question isn’t about personal offense, but moral boundaries or taste / preferences. This is always a tough call when dealing with the public. But we’re not talking about just any public; it’s segmenting a particular public and targeting them through specific media (we’re not likely to see this ad during 60 Minutes). While this spot is certainly edgy, it’s no more over the line than many other ads. In fact, at least this one is “upfront” with it’s message.

    Reply
  • 7. Targeting differences: PR and Advertising « PRinciples  |  October 19, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    […] advertising targeting prowess with the most recent Breast Cancer Awareness campaign. Check out the PRepguide blog and see what the author has to say about it. It’s right on the […]

    Reply
  • 8. steve fox  |  October 22, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I’m not arguing it’s not effective or successful. I still don’t have to like it. I think people are far too often given messages about how we expect them to act. We can expect men to care about breast cancer because women are important – and that should be enough. Maybe we can all take a more active role in our society, rather than settling for perpetuating weak stereotypes.

    I’m not too old to understand what this was going for. However, I think stooping to what works is taking the low road in this case.

    Reply

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