American Marketer


Estée Lauder Cos. builds breast cancer support system through shared experiences

October 7, 2014

Estée Lauder's Breast Cancer Awareness campaign Estée Lauder's Breast Cancer Awareness campaign


The Estée Lauder Companies is continuing its support of breast cancer education and research through a user-generated content hub that shares survivors' narratives.

Founded in 1992, Estée Lauder’s Breast Cancer Awareness campaign and Pink Ribbon initiative is active in more than 70 countries and has raised $53 million dollars with approximately $42 million funding 166 research projects over the last 20 years. Like many brands, Estée Lauder has pledged its support for breast cancer survivors for the month of October to build awareness for the disease.

“The 2014 BCA Campaign is designed to touch hearts and minds with awareness that inspires action and motivates meaningful support of The BCA Campaign’s mission to defeat breast cancer through education and medical research,” said Bari Seiden, vice president of global corporate communications at The Estée Lauder Companies, New York.

“This year, we are moving in a bold new direction with an uplifting call-to-action, 'Hear our stories. Share yours.,' designed to create a global community of strength and support through digital storytelling,” she said. “The 2014 BCA Campaign expands upon our action-focused theme, 'Let’s Defeat Breast Cancer. We’re Stronger Together.,' by bringing to life the authentic, inspirational stories of brave women and men who have faced breast cancer, and the loved ones who support them throughout the experience.

“The aim of this year’s campaign is to unite the global breast cancer community by inviting all who have been touched by the disease to share their personal story on and through social media (#BCAStrength) in the hopes of empowering others to speak openly, while continuing to support lifesaving breast cancer research."

Pink ribbons
For its 2014 Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, Estée Lauder created a dedicated Web site focusing on the cause. On the Web site consumers are encouraged to “Hear Our Stories” and “Share Yours” to build a community of women and their families who have been affected by breast cancer as either survivors or those currently undergoing treatment.

“Our global, interactive digital experience, brought to life through and through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram @BCAcampaign, is at the heart of The 2014 BCA Campaign, and displays authentic, personal stories of strength and support designed to inspire others to share their own experiences,” Ms. Seiden said.

“A series of compelling, documentary-style video tributes introduces our powerful new call-to-action 'Hear our stories. Share yours.' through relatable and moving stories of individuals touched by breast cancer, and the often-overlooked supporters who are also impacted by the disease,” she said.

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Estée Lauder Cos.' Breast Cancer Awareness campaign Web site

At the top of the page is a quote from global ambassador and actress Elizabeth Hurley. The quotation perfectly summarizes what Estée Lauder is aiming to achieve with the dedicated Web site: “There are so many people who’ve had breast cancer, who’ve survived breast cancer, who are in the act of battling breast cancer -- which is something that affects all of us.”

Under the heading with Ms. Hurley’s quote, the consumer can either select Hear Our Stories, Share Yours or make a donation. If the consumer selects Hear Our Stories a behind-the-scenes video plays that shows those interviewed preparing for their session with a loved one.

Each of the individuals shown in the three-minute video talks about their own or a loved ones initial diagnosis and how it has affected relationships. A screen with only texts reads that this is a unique storytelling approach to ignite a different type of conversation.

The introduction video acquaints the viewer to four families of different backgrounds and dynamics affected by breast cancer. Through sharing their stories of gratitude, support and strength, Estée Lauder's and the participants' goal is to build awareness and help others in similar situations find hope.

Hear our stories. Share yours.

Featured families include father and daughter Jamie and Ted, husband and wife Jeanette and David, the Shen family -- three generations of Chinese women and the Forbes family, a mother and her two young children. Each family member then talked about how diagnosis, treatment and survival influenced the bonds they shared with one another.

A content page continues the narrative by giving each family member the opportunity to share their story. Estée Lauder allows consumers to tell their story in a different section that includes user-generated content from Twitter and Instagram posts including the hashtag #BCAStrength.

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Estée Lauder Cos.' Breast Cancer Awareness campaign social feed

In addition to the user-generated social feed, this section also includes postings from 15 Estée Lauder beauty brands such as La Mer, Bobbi Brown, Jo Malone and Bumble & Bumble. Additional featured content tells the personal stories of healing from women touched by breast cancer.

To spread awareness and share experiences all content on Estée Lauder’s Breast Cancer Awareness hub is sharable on Twitter and Facebook.

“People around the world are invited to visit to hear these powerful stories, find strength in their common experiences, be moved to share their own stories, and join the fight against breast cancer through making a donation to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF),” Ms. Seiden said. “Throughout the year, will continue to spotlight relationships that exemplify how 'We’re Stronger Together' in an effort to foster a unique, interactive breast cancer support community.

“This dynamic, storytelling hub will deliver an ongoing flow of inspirational and educational content year-round, while also encouraging donations in support of BCRF,” she said.

In the donate section on the Breast Cancer Awareness Web site, Estée Lauder breaks down how the money raised is allotted. The site notes that a $25 donation funds a half hour of research and $50 affords an hour. To display a larger picture, Estée Lauder shows that $250,000 can support a research project for one year.

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Donation page for Estée Lauder Cos.' Breast Cancer Awareness campaign

For 2014, Estée Lauder is committed to raising $5 million dollars for breast cancer education and research. The Web site can be found here.

Acts of kindness
Brands often align with causes that may affect a large portion of their consumers, such as women’s cancers. By doing so the brand is humanized and shown in a compassionate light while working toward a common goal.

For example, French couture house Christian Dior is hosting its seventh annual auction to benefit Look Good Feel Better, a charity aimed at improving the self esteem of women undergoing cancer treatments.

Through the online Dior Auction, happening Oct. 1-10, consumers can bid on exclusive experiences and luxury items from Dior and partners, such as admission to the Academy Awards and a vintage Lady Dior handbag. Partnering with a female-focused cause will help Dior bond with its consumers (see story).

Also, Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre partnered with the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance on a campaign to boost awareness for the disease.

Jaeger-LeCoultre helped raise funds for the organization through in-store events featuring one photographer’s work capturing survivors of the cancer. Since this is a cause that hits close to home for Jaeger-LeCoultre, the brand is not only showing its corporate social responsibility, but also its heart (see story).

When the cause is personal, like Estée Lauder’s, efforts are recognized as not being superficial.

“Over the past two decades, The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign, launched by the late Evelyn H. Lauder, co-creator of the Pink Ribbon and founder of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF), has been a leading voice for breast cancer awareness around the world, sparking a global movement that has helped save millions of lives and fund groundbreaking breast cancer research,” Ms. Seiden said.

“When Evelyn H. Lauder first began speaking out about breast cancer, few people were talking about it openly or publicly,” she said. “She held a strong belief that knowledge is power, and felt a responsibility to speak up and share the stories of all those whose lives had been touched by the disease.

“This year’s BCA Campaign continues to honor the spirit of knowledge, sharing and taking action, which was such an important part of her life.”

Final Take
Jen King, lead reporter on Luxury Daily, New York