The breast is the leading cancer site in women throughout the world, according to research by Bruni et al. (2019). It is also the leading cause of female cancer deaths in almost all countries, except for the most economically developed, in which it is second to lung cancer.
While many factors such as age, family history, genetics and even diet play a role in the chances of developing breast cancer, early detection plays a key role in effective treatment and outcomes.
To encourage self-screening, the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) has joined hands with retail chain Food Lover’s Market and Grid Worldwide, a branding and design agency, in a national campaign that appeals to shoppers to check their breasts as often as they check out their fruit and vegetables.
Taking place in October, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Check Them Out campaign will see the fresh produce aisles of all Food Lover’s Market and Food Lover’s Eatery stores across the country brandished with cheeky stickers to remind women to perform home self-examinations to spot lumps, bumps and other irregularities, which could be signs of breast cancer.
While the campaign aims to get a reaction from shoppers in a good way, the objective is to drive proactive cancer screening, as women treated for early breast cancer are likely to become long-term survivors, according to a study published in 2023 by medical research group, The BMJ.
In addition to quirky stickers on fruits and vegetables, the Check Them Out campaign also takes the form of rebranded shopping bags and in-store promotional posters that detail how to conduct a self-examination. In-store and campaign artwork directs ladies to the Cansa page for further information and crucial next steps should they find something suspicious.
As the ‘Make it Mean Something Company’, Grid Worldwide proactively approached Cansa and Food Lover’s Market for the Check Them Out campaign. “Everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer” says Lauren Shewitz, creative director at Grid. “As a team, we wanted to create a relevant, memorable and impactful campaign that not only created awareness but also brought meaning to marketing, with the ultimate objective of saving lives.”
Terri Coppin Harris, head of Culture and Communication at Food Lover’s Market, says this was an opportunity they couldn’t afford to miss. “As a retailer that holds fast to strong family values, we could not pass on the chance to weigh in and support this campaign. Breast cancer is still listed as the top invasive cancer reported for South African women, and this made us realise that it can so easily affect our shoppers and team members. We loved the idea of creating a bold reminder in our stores to educate our customers and our team about self-examination and screening.”
While shoppers will be reminded to ‘check out their melons’ and ‘feel their avos’ through stickers on selected seasonal fruit, Food Lover’s Market has elevated the campaign in-house by creating an equally strong awareness campaign to engage and inform all Food Lover’s Market team members on the importance of preventative screenings.
Says Coppin Harris, “I am confident that this campaign will garner the reaction we want. We’re aiming to grab shopper attention in a big way as it’s not every day you see fruit linked to some of our most intimate parts. Hopefully, it will make our consumers stop, think and take action.”
“We’re excited to align ourselves with Food Lover’s Market and Grid Worldwide for the Check Them Out campaign,” adds Lorraine Govender, National Manager, Health Promotion at CANSA. “Together, we are raising awareness in a proactive and meaningful way, and delivering on the message that early detection is critical. We want to urge everyone to be aware of their own bodies, look out for anything that is unusual, and get checked out early - it could save your life.”