Black women in the U.S. are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. In some cities, that percentage increases to 74 percent. To address this disparity, breast cancer organization Susan G. Komen and the Ad Council have launched a multimedia campaign called “Know Your Girls.”
In early discussions about the need for such a campaign, the Ad Council was struck by the daunting statistics, such as the fact black women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer younger, at later stages and with more aggressive forms of the disease, limiting their treatment options.
“The CMO of Komen at the time reached out to us about this staggering, alarming statistic and we felt that there was a void that we could fill concerning this issue,” says Heidi Arthur, head of campaign development at the Ad Council.
The Know Your Girls campaign encourages black women, ages 30 to 55, to treat their breasts with the same attentiveness and understanding they share with the women in their lives. An emphasis on sisterhood is the through line in the campaign.
“When we began our strategic research, over a year ago, we heard over and over again from women about the importance of girlfriends—the sisterhood—and the motivation and inspiration that these women get from each other.” Arthur says.
The ad was created pro-bono by agency Translation and directed by A.V. Rockwell. Narration is provided by actress Vanessa Bell Calloway, with Alicia Keys (daughter of a breast cancer survivor) providing the track “You Don’t Know My Name.”
Paula Schneider, CEO of Susan G. Komen, also referenced the importance of this campaign for awareness and impact in treating breast cancer.
“The ad creative is beautiful,” says Paula Schneider, CEO of Susan G. Komen. “We also love the overall direction of the campaign and we believe it will resonate well with our audience. The playfulness of Know Your Girls and the connection it has to family and community are key threads that we hope will not only make the ads memorable, but impactful as well. We want them to inspire conversations, and we believe they will do that.”