By Rasha Ghanem, Communications Director at Ford Middle East
As brands worldwide change their colors for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here’s how an automotive giant has used its Warriors in Pink campaign as a vehicle to push a regional message about the importance of early detection
In image above: Rasha Ghanem, Communications Director at Ford Middle East
We’re halfway through October and it’s impossible not to think pink. Be it advertising, shopping malls, social media videos, or PR activations, the color is ubiquitous in the public eye all through Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast Cancer Awareness is a cause very close to my heart. Launched globally in 1993, Ford’s Warriors in Pink has seen the carmaker donate $138 million so far in support of the fight against breast cancer, a major killer of mostly women responsible for 685,000 deaths in 2020. In 2022, Warriors in Pink is marking its 12th year in the Middle East and North Africa. Over this period, the initiative has brought together and celebrated more than 130 Models of Courage from around the region – breast cancer survivors (women and men) who brought the breast cancer community together to support those who embody courage, commitment, and hope in the fight, and publicly shared their lived experience to push the critical message of early detection.
When it comes to breast cancer, early detection is the best medicine. Studies suggest women whose breast cancer is detected at an early stage have a 93% or higher survival rate in the first five years. To educate women on the importance of early detection, Ford uses Warriors in Pink as a vehicle to share the powerful stories of those who have fought and successfully overcome the disease – survivors we call Models of Courage.
We refer to our Models of Courage as survivors because they have all seen their cancer in remission for at least five years. A long-standing program, Warriors in Pink has helped connect our Models of Courage with other survivors, medical specialists, and media and influencers at special events over the years to spread the word about the importance of regular examinations and early detection of the disease, as well as supporting, inspiring, and empowering patients. We are committed to helping those touched by breast cancer, through actions that support, inspire, and empower patients, survivors, and co-survivors throughout their journey. We are also producing and retailing pink Warrior apparel, with all proceeds going towards the cure with Susan G. Komen and The Pink Fund.
Here in the UAE, Ford has an annual partnership with Zulekha Hospitals (Pink it Now Campaign), where thousands of people have benefitted from free mammograms and breast cancer consultations. For over ten years, the hospital group’s Pink It Now campaign and Ford Warriors in Pink have worked to raise awareness of the disease and make early detection accessible to more and more people.
Last week, Warriors in Pink brought together Mais Mohammed – life coach, interior designer, influencer, and breast cancer survivor – and Dr. Wisam Ismail, one of the most renowned oncologists and breast reconstruction surgeons in the region, to discuss their experiences with the disease, raise awareness, and talk early detection. Through our activation, we are providing expert opinions and advice to educate our audience on breast cancer awareness.
A sad reality about pink October is that many brands are only participating to tick a CSR box – focusing on the topic every October in a bid to gain media coverage. I am proud that Warriors in Pink isn’t just a month-long initiative trotted out by Ford every October; it’s a year-round effort that aims to effect real change as a key player in the fight against breast cancer.
Breast cancer doesn’t stop existing outside October. As communicators, we have a responsibility to keep the conversation going – and avoid engaging in pinkwashing.