Design of the week – Keeping abreast of cancer

The Mozambican branch of global advertising firm DDB has created some compelling awareness campaigns for the Mozambican Association Against Cancer over the past few years.

Its latest features the iconic Barbie doll after a mastectomy.

The tagline, “early self-exams save more than your life”, urges women to perform breast exams regularly to ensure the timely detection of cancer.

Breast cancer is one of those “sexy causes” that companies selling anything from pretzels to rosé will jump on to capitalise on the social-awareness buck.

The cause is often sexualised or trivialised: with so much emphasis on breasts being the source of femininity, we forget we’re fighting for women to keep their lives, not their boobs. The ridiculous Free Your Tatas campaign – in which women were urged to ditch their bras to “raise awareness” of cancer – springs to mind.

DDB seems to have steered away from this. Some of its older campaigns include iconic female superheroes performing breast exams with the tagline “nobody’s immune to breast cancer”.

The campaign in which bugs are seen crawling beneath a woman’s skin is also great.

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