Why the American Cancer Society Is Shining a Spotlight on African American Communities – Adweek


Today, the American Cancer Society is dropping a new campaign that’s all about generating awareness around the lower survival rates in the African American community.

The campaign is launched in partnership with an ACS ambassador, Simone I. Smith, a jewelry designer and cancer survivor (as well as the wife of rapper LL Cool J, who is also part of the campaign). And as April is National Minority Health Month, Sharon Byers, chief development, marketing and communications officer for the American Cancer Society, felt it was the perfect time to drop this campaign—which is directed towards an African American audience.

“In our fight against cancer, the gap and death rates between African-Americans and white people has certainly narrowed, but African-Americans still bear a disproportionate amount of cancer burden,” said Byers.

The concept for the campaign, called “Beat Cancer Like a Boss,” was driven by Smith, said Byers. The idea is to encourage people to find the strength to do exactly what the tagline says—beat cancer like a boss—despite the inevitable challenges and hardships that come along the way.

“I was in utter disbelief when I received my stage III diagnosis, but what I quickly learned with the support of my husband and family, was that cancer was not something that I had to let consume my inner being or personality,” Smith said in a statement. “With the help of ACS and a few friends, this campaign was created to empower people to lean on their support systems and tap into their strength to ‘Beat Cancer Like A Boss,’ a message I carried with me throughout my journey to recovery.”

“This campaign is really driven by our mission, obviously we want to encourage people who are affected by cancer to find that inner strength and fight in the way that their communities want them to fight,” added Byers. “That’s where ‘Beat Cancer Like a Boss’ comes from.”

Smith worked with the ACS to create the campaign, which Byers said represents a new direction when it comes to the organization’s advertising efforts. “It is a radical shift when you think about nonprofits and our traditional approach to the cancer conversation,” she said. “That’s why we hope it will really start sparking this conversation and create this amazing movement.”

Along with Smith and LL Cool J, several other familiar faces will be appearing in the campaign, including Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J, Salt-N-Pepa, Jordin Sparks, Jhené Aiko and Remy Ma. It will live on social media, in televised ads and in an app as well. The hope is that the campaign not only encourages people to get screened and be on top of their health but also helps them realize their own inner strength.

“It provides an opportunity for people to define for themselves what a boss is,” said Byers. “And for that world of community, being able to share and think about ‘How do I feel that boss mentality?’ The movement is to empower, to uplift.”

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