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The woman behind the cancer (behind the pills)

The woman behind the cancer (behind the pills)

When art makes a social message, it can be transcendant. But when social marketing tries too hard to be artistic, it can fall short.


NYC adblogger Copyranter put it succinctly: “That’s a nice message. But, not to be a pill here (sorry), she looks like a cyborg with half her head covered like that. The visual is certainly attention-grabbing. But is it action-stimulating?”

That’s the problem I see, too. The image is anything but humanizing, actually making the woman more about the medical treatment than who she really is. It doesn’t seem like a good way to promote the services of “the only UK-wide charity dedicated to providing emotional and practical support for anyone affected.”

Perhaps it’s the limitation of print, however, that is the problem here. Watch the campaign video:

Watching the same woman shed her coat of pills is liberating, empowering, and hopeful.

This should be a reminder to agencies that each medium needs to be treated as an individual storyteller. If you let one fall short, it can shortchange the whole campaign.


Breast Cancer Care (UK)
M&C Saatchi, London

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