A cancer-awareness campaign that’s in your face

Do the images on this page offend you? If they do, I imagine it’s the use of the f-word that you find offensive. Or perhaps its the juxtaposition of that word with the word ‘cancer.’ Possibly it’s the logo’s garish monochrome appearance and the bold typeface. Or maybe it’s seeing that word on this blog which doesn’t usually go in for profanity in the posts.

Whatever the reason, and whether you found it offensive or not, I bet it got your attention. You may even have clicked on one of the images to go to the underlying website.

It’s a campaign called Fuck Cancer  – yes, that is its name so I’ll call it as it is, not F**ck Cancer as I see some doing – that’s designed to raise awareness about cancer. Simple.

What’s less simple is the in-your-face, angry approach taken by the two founders, mother and daughter Diane Cohen and Yael Cohen.

In a sea of competition everywhere you look that demands your attention and action (and money) to support campaigns to eradicate this or that disease, if you can get yours to stand out from the crowd, you’ll likely achieve your awareness-raising goals if not others you may have.

An in-your-face approach like this one will help you, certainly, even if it offends some people. But you also need a compelling story that people can relate to. The Cohens have that story, one of overcoming adversity and survival, which led to founding this campaign in late 2009.

A nicely-designed and informative website  – one where you can also purchase merchandise like t-shirts – isn’t all that Fuck Cancer’s relying on to raise awareness. On the contrary, there’s almost a level of activism in how it’s using Facebook and Twitter, as Mashable reports.

[…] you visit the F**ck Cancer Facebook Page, click on the F-Tember Tab and click on “Donate Your Status.” You can then choose to donate your status daily, once, bi-weekly or weekly via Facebook, Twitter and/or e-mail. The app then does so automatically, sharing out factoids. (NB: There is no option to censor your tweets and updates, so if you’re squeamish about the F-bomb, be aware.) […] And it’s not like your donated statuses and tweets are just expletive-laden gibberish. […]  they’re meant to educate people about the disease.

In other words, if you join this proactive aspect of the campaign, the app Mashable mentions will automatically send out texts to your Twitter followers and your Facebook friends that bring the campaign to their attention. In their faces, so to speak.

[…] “By seeing [facts about cancer] on 10 friends’ news feeds every day for a month, you’re going to absorb some of it,” Cohen says. “The app actually achieves one of our goals: spreading awareness about early detection. More than 90% of cancers are curable at stage one — look for them, look for them, look for them.”

And in your face is exactly what the Cohens plan during New York Fashion Week with a stunt in New York planned for today:

[…] If you live in the New York area and want to get involved ASAP, Cohen and her cohorts will be taking to the streets [today] – during New York Fashion Week – sporting F**ck Cancer T-shirts and spreading awareness. If you want to join up, just shoot them an e-mail at streetteam@letsfcancer.com.

I bet that gets attention. You may or may not agree with the Cohens’ approach, but you can’t ignore it.

And that’s the point.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. FCancer Team

    Hi Neville, just wanted to say thank you for writing a piece about Fuck Cancer, it means the world to us to have you help spread our message to the world. All the best!

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