Black women in America are more than 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. In communities across the U.S., black women are more likely to be diagnosed younger, at later stages and with more aggressive forms of the disease. To address this health disparity, the Ad Council and Susan G. Komen® created the "Know Your Girls" campaign to educate black women about their breast cancer risk and empower them to take charge of their breast health. All content drives to the website KnowYourGirls.org, where women can access information to help them learn their breast cancer risk and family health history so they can have an informed conversation with their doctor. By giving black women their own unique space to understand their breast cancer risk and engage with information and tools, the campaign promotes early detection and saves lives.
The Ad Council conducted extensive qualitative and quantitative research to understand our target audience's perspective on this issue, inspiring our "way in" that would motivate women to seek care -- shifting black women's mindset from fear of breast cancer, to empowerment around breast health.
This strategy is brought to life in "Know Your Girls," a multimedia PSA campaign which appears entirely in donated, earned and owned media nationwide. This includes:
All PSAs drive to the campaign website, which includes unique perspectives from women who chose to learn about their breast health, experienced breast cancer firsthand, or supported a friend who was navigating the disease. These authentic and emotional stories are then shared on the "Know Your Girls" social channels to empower and educate other women.
We knew that to reach black women, we had to create dedicated channels that would be representative of their daily lives and their voice. We partnered with multicultural agency Good Stuff Digital to launch the "Know Your Girls" sisterhood on social media, so black women everywhere could have open and honest conversations about breast health and share their own experiences with each other. To promote this powerful community, we enlisted relevant celebrities and digital creators to amplify our message. We also identified key events where we could reach influential voices in the community and extended our participation through influencer and social activations.
For example, in July, we ran a featured booth at Essence Festival, where tens of thousands of women engaged with the "Know Your Girls" message and shared their stories with us. Many took breast health information back home to share with their friends and family.
We've secured the campaign in the hearts and minds of black women by meeting them where they are, with the women in their lives.
"Know Your Girls" introduced brand new channels on social media - launching with 19 celebrity social media posts that delivered over 5.3 million impressions. The "Know Your Girls" Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels started with zero followers and have since grown to 22,125 - due to the stunning imagery and authentic community we've created. This was accomplished with limited donated media support, deployed in highly targeted ways. For example, our audience was so captivated by our digital ads featuring dynamic black women that our Facebook following nearly quadrupled.
We engaged celebrities and digital talent, who wanted to help our campaign reach black women across the country through custom photos and videos. Our 19 celebrities became true "Know Your Girls" ambassadors, posting a total of 38 times on behalf of the campaign and sharing how breast cancer has impacted their friends and family. The talent participated at no cost to encourage their fans to take care of their girls and know their normal. Fan favorites included:
Giving our audience a breast health platform that exists entirely by and for them has proven to be successful:
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