The best of non-profit advertising and marketing for social causes

Can you raise breast cancer awareness without even showing women? #Pinkverts

Can you raise breast cancer awareness without even showing women? #Pinkverts

[Image via Saudi Women to Drive Facebook page]

Åsk, at Adland, made me aware of this breast cancer month poster from Saudi Arabia.

Hot on the heels of IKEA’s PR disaster last week, when it was found that all women had been Photoshopped out of its Saudi catalogue, this campaign has emerged from the murk of the internet.

Åsk notes:

This isn’t an easy topic in Saudi, where women are in many cases controlled by men as they have fewer legal rights overall in the country, and the culture itself is male-dominated to the extreme. That the poster becomes a mano-a-mano talk about letting your wive(s) check their breasts isn’t at all surprising.

According to people posting in the Facebook thread where I found the uncropped picture, the men in the ad are all Saudi celebrities. From right to left: musician Qusai, journalist Turki Al-Dakhil, (unidentified) and comedian Omar Hussein. The caption beside them reads,  “For you, my dearest”.

There is also video, on YouTube:

It appears to be a campaign in which men show their support and approval for women getting checked. It reads as pretty patronizing to my western sensibilities, but is it progress for the region? The Adland post includes a quote from gynecologist Dr. Samia Al-Amoudi, who explains “In male-dominated societies like some areas in Saudi Arabia, women’s decisions are controlled sometimes by men, and men may be unaware of or may disapprove of screening.”

It’s interesting to compare this to the men‘s breast cancer campaign in the UK that featured a fully-clothed man cavorting with a bevy of bouncing, topless women. That, too, shows a skewed perspective on the sexes.

If I had to choose between sexist societies, however, I’d still pick the one where women speak for themselves.

See all versions of the ads after the break.



Is it interesting that IKEA is a sponsor?

Images via RubaFahhd

And more video (subtitled)

The Ford Motor Company is a Zahra Breast Cancer Association partner in a different (Ford-branded) October campaign.

Zahra Breast Cancer Association

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more