Community-led cancer charity GirlvsCancer has teamed up with design agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) to create a defiant campaign that brazenly tackles the often taboo subjects of intimacy, pleasure and sexual health post-diagnosis. With powerful billboard advertisements and a series of raw emotive short films, the bold campaign aims to "smash the stigma" around sex, spotlighting the experiences of real women as they navigate their sexual identity post-diagnosis.
Coinciding with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the charity's subversive campaign encapsulates the different struggles around sexual intimacy that can occur during or post-cancer, aiming to spark conversation and rewrite the sexual narrative of the cancer community. (For more inspiring campaigns, check out our collection of the best billboard advertising examples).
The poignant billboard campaign centres around the bold statement "Cancer won't be the last thing that f*cks me" – a defiant mantra that symbolises the reclamation of power and sexual identity. Accommodating the phrase is a series of intimate, close-up shots of female bodies bearing their scars, each bathed in a warm golden hue. The provocative statement, alongside the campaign's sensual imagery, creates a sense of empowerment that helps destigmatise the taboo around sex in a candid but playful manner.
"Everybody deserves to feel desired and worthy of a happy, healthy sex life," reads the campaign statement on the GirlvsCancer website. "Taking time to be intimate with your mind, body & soul is one surefire way to regain a sense of control. Regain your sense of self. And take pleasure firmly back into your own hands. Literally."
The accompanying series of videos is an equally stark reflection of the trauma that can manifest from a cancer diagnosis. Through a series of monologues, each protagonist shares the details of their cancer journey in raw and unfiltered detail, before divulging their rediscovered relationship with sex, from kink communities to self-pleasure. Each video ends with the same defiant statement: "Cancer won't be the last thing that f*cks me."
Directed by Sofia Ray, the videos feature real women who had or have cancer. The scripts were written in close collaboration with the featured women, telling their stories in a way that truthfully represents their experiences, boldly spotlighting the graphic reality of cancer. "BBH’s ‘straight to it’ approach to this topic is certainly going to put it on the agenda and help to make it a less taboo part of cancer treatment and recovery,” says GirlvsCancer founder Lauren Mahon to Campaign.
Speaking to Creative Review, BBH's Executive Creative Director Helen Rhodes says: “Our approach might make some people uncomfortable and that’s fine. As long as it gets people talking, we know that’s the most effective way to kickstart change.” With such a groundbreaking campaign that reconstructs the typical narratives around cancer, it's certainly going to ignite conversation and aid in the cancer community getting a happy ending.
The OOH campaign will run in various locations across London from 23 October and the short films are available to watch via GirlvsCancer's YouTube channel. However, it's not the only charity making waves this Breast Cancer Awareness Month, check out the ingenious campaign that turns breasts into typography to spread an important message.