It’s About mBC Time
Every two hours in Canada, one woman dies from metastatic breast cancer, an incurable disease. Also known as stage IV breast cancer, awareness of metastatic breast cancer is low, even amongst the breast cancer community. Increasing public awareness is critical to expanding the breast cancer conversation to be more inclusive of metastatic disease and generating support for those touched by it. Pfizer Canada Inc., a Montreal-based biopharmaceutical company, in collaboration with three major breast cancer patient organizations, partnered with NATIONAL to generate public awareness about metastatic breast cancer and cultivate strong, mutually beneficial relationships with the breast cancer community – including patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and Canadians with a connection to the disease.
Pfizer wanted to understand the unique journey and needs of women with metastatic breast cancer in Canada and how best to engage them. In late 2015, NATIONAL conducted research into Canadian metastatic breast cancer patient beliefs and behaviours, to further define audience characteristics, such as mindset, attitudes, opinions, motivations and experiences. NATIONAL’s proprietary digital ethnographic research – called Belief Based Behavior – revealed that women living with mBC are united by a feeling of isolation from the breast cancer conversation. NATIONAL was tasked with creating a bilingual, multi-channel campaign that would bring Canadians face-to-face with metastatic breast cancer, providing those touched by the disease a platform to a platform to learn about other individuals’ experiences.
Launching on Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day (October 13), NATIONAL, Pfizer and the three patient group partners – the Canadian Breast Cancer Network, the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation and Rethink Breast Cancer – developed a dynamic and robust multi-channel program called It’s About mBC Time – signifying that it’s about time we brought the breast cancer narrative beyond a pink conversation to be more inclusive of women living with metastatic disease. The campaign launched in 2016 and a second year execution took place in 2017. The campaign has included the development of campaign videos and a website, a social media program highlighting the experiences of Canadians touched by the disease, street teams, a media tour in Montreal and Toronto, the execution of a survey and development of an infographic as well as an influencer program.
To ensure that the campaign properly resonated in Quebec, it was entirely adapted as opposed to simply translated. The term “mBC” is not used in Quebec and does not translate well to French; as a result we developed a new name and assets that would engage French-speaking Quebecers – Parlons Stade 4 (Let’s talk about Stage 4). Every campaign component included both a French and English execution with the materials geared towards the Quebec market being properly adapted, including the collection of Quebec-centric survey data used in a Quebec-focused infographic and materials distributed by the street teams. The development and launch of a separate French-language campaign website – parlonsstade4.ca – was also a success, featuring French-language materials and informational resources. Moreover, both French and English Canadians touched by the disease were engaged to participate in the campaign, and were invited to share their personal stories with the disease on the website. Lastly, the production of the 2017 campaign video was also notable, as it was produced entirely in both English and French in Montreal. This ensured that both Anglophone and Francophone members of the public could be found to participate, thus avoiding having to translate the video from one language to another, or having to use subtitles.
Campaign partners and spokespeople – from patient support groups, media celebrities and online influencers – were thoughtfully chosen to maximize how they would resonate with the Quebec audience. For the 2016 campaign, for instance, Quebec actor and author Louise Portal was selected as campaign spokesperson. Her close personal tie with the disease (her sister died of metastatic breast cancer) and her profile amongst Francophone Quebecers made her a natural choice. In fact, the Quebec-focussed campaign in 2016 was even more successful than the English thanks to Louise’s influence with the Quebec public. As for the 2017 campaign, the list of celebrity spokespeople expanded to three, all of whom are recognized amongst English and French Canadians alike. The primary spokesperson, who also appeared in the campaign’s official video, was Montreal-based activist and blogger Nalie Agustin, who is currently living with stage 4 breast cancer, as well as local influencers Mitsou Gélinas (the official spokesperson for the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation) and Lolitta Dandoy (who was diagnosed at 29 with the disease but today is cancer-free). All had a strong number of followers (both in traditional and social media) making them the appropriate vehicles for the campaign messaging. Overall, the campaign has been celebrated as a success by the breast cancer community, in large part because of the French campaign, which was tailored to the Quebec market.