viral marketing

Komen Goes Viral for the Cure with #fightbreastcancer Push

Posted by Caroline Smith on September 29, 2010 05:00 PM

Breast Cancer Awareness Month kicks off on October 1st. This year, it's getting rolling early with a massive digital push by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the global leader of the breast cancer awareness movement.

For the 24 hours of September 30th, starting at 12:01am and ending at midnight, Komen for the Cure will launch what it hopes will be the world’s largest one-day social media/online event.

With the goal of “turning the world pink,” the foundation is asking not just advocates but everyone to update their Facebook and Twitter statuses to include the term #fightbreastcancer and point to the website 69-seconds.org. The "69 seconds" reference stems from the statistic that a woman dies of breast cancer somewhere in the world every 69 seconds. 

The foundation aims to further educate and extend their efforts through online conversation and viral word-of-mouth messaging. It will also be updating the viral push on its own Facebook and Twitter pages.

Komen's buzz marketing push will tally every social mention of #fightbreastcancer in the 24 hours leading up to Oct. 1st, which is why it's also asking Facebookers whose profiles are private to unlock them for the 24-hour period of September 30th so that their use of the #fightbreastcancer tag can be counted.

On Komen’s 69-seconds.org website, visitors can sign a petition to include cancer as a global priority in the UN millennium goals, upload a personal photo into a digital mosaic to create a virtual map that will turn pink as participants increase, and learn more about the disease and prevention through quizzes and informational articles.

And with 30 days remaining until midterm elections, the foundation is getting political. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance (KAA) has challenged all candidates, if elected, to promise to fight for breast cancer rights for their constituents. Having drawn up a “Breast Cancer Bill of Rights,” the KAA is insisting that politicians do more to ensure a woman’s right to an annual screening mammogram with no additional cost to the patient, a right which was improved under recent health care reforms, but not perfected. 

Not without controversy, the foundation has found itself in the news recently for its fierce protection of the tagline “For a Cure” and the pink ribbon symbol. The foundation cites “responsible stewardship” of their donor funds while other non-profit organizations believe the legal action hinders the main imperative of raising cancer awareness worldwide. It seems that, these days, doing good isn’t as simple as it sounds. 

Meanwhile, the month-long breast cancer campaign each October marks the time of the year when many brands release breast-cancer-awareness themed products. Companies ranging from Estée Lauder, Juicy Couture, and Calvin Klein to KFC and the Washington Redskins football team are all releasing products or hosting events and hoisting the pink banner, with their efforts' profits going to breast cancer research and education.

In another innovative example of "viral marketing for the cure" this year, Susan G. Komen for the Cure will receive 70 cents of every iTunes download of We Fight Back, by singer/songwriter Tim Halperin, starting October 1st:

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