Estee Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign 20th Anniversary Interactive Exhibition Unveiling

This year marks 20 years that Estee Lauder Companies launched its global Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign. The 2012 Campaign themeis  “Courage. Believe in a world without breast cancer. Know we’re here until its true.” The company celebrated an amazing 20-year commitment to defeating breast cancer through education and medical research and paid tribute to the life and legacy of BCA Campaign Founder and Pink Ribbon co-creator, Evelyn Lauder.

Marisa Thalberg, Elizabeth Hurley, William Lauder and Maureen Case 

Through today, Wednesday, October 3 from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM each day, the exhibition is free and open to the public.  The exhibition will highlight archived videos and photographs, articles, digital initiatives, global landmark illuminations, key milestones and achievements, among other artifacts. Pink Ribbons and breast health educational brochures will also be offered complimentary.  In addition, The BCA Campaign is donating $1 to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® for every post on The BCA Campaign’s interactive timeline on Facebook during the month of October up to a maximum of $25,000. Check it out at facebook.com/BCACampaign

I stopped by the exhibition this week where I had the chance to interview three incredible women, Elizabeth Hurley, VP of Global Digital Marketing for Estee Lauder Marisa Thalberg and President of Special Brands for Estee Lauder Maureen Case, who is a breast cancer survivor. It was especially wonderful of her to share her story with me. Here’s what they had to say about raising awareness for this disease, which is the leading cause of death among women aged 40+.

Elizabeth Hurley 
“I’ve been working with Estee Lauder for 18 years, just after Evelyn Lauder started the BCRF and the company formed the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. I’ve been with them pretty much from the start. I’m so overwhelmed at how much they’ve achieved. Going into this interactive campaign, it really brings home all the memories and achievements the company’s made. I feel awful that Evelyn isn’t here to see our progress. But it’s fitting that we should be celebrating her today. And lighting the Empire State Building pink again today is so exciting. When the company first sought out this global illumination plan in 2000, that’s the first building we ever lit pink.  It feels great every time we light it up. It’s a moving day for us.”

Maureen Case
“I was touched by breast cancer three years ago and I’ve worked for the Lauder company since I was 21 years old. I went for a routine mammogram and they found a calcification, which is pretty typical. But this time my doctor told me there was a little tiny cancer. Tears started leaking out of my eyes. Cancer. The C-word, big or small, it doesn’t matter. It’s like a bedbug. I could have just done a lumpectomy and radiation. The doctor didn’t like where it was located and the size of the cells. And I also had some in my right breast. We could either do radiation and monitor and every six months. But I’m a very black and white person when it comes to decisions like that. So I decided to move forward witha prophylactic double mastectomy.

It was hard to tell my teenaged daughter and son. It was hard to tell the people at work, but Evelyn Lauder herself called me and said, ‘Maureen, I’m sorry to welcome you to the club.’ I didn’t reallly know what she meant. But now I do. There’s a distinct before and after and your life really changes, but in a positive way. You look through a different lens. You hit the reset button. I’ve got a phenomenal job. I have a wonderful family. Am I the wealthiest? No. Do I need more money? Of course. When you have that challenge of your own mortality, you reevaluate everything. Evelyn was so courageous.  That courage and determination is looking reality in the face and having optimism and grace.

I’d love to council women who are going through this and help them. It’s anger, a tunnel of despair. Early detection is key. People are nervous. I was; I’m the breadwinner. I’m the mom. I had to think of the people I affect. It’s something that really needs to be dealt with. I’m so proud of the funds BCA has raised. It’s about one cause. I wish the federal government would put a priority on it. My sister two years later to the month was also diagnosed. I didn’t have the BRCA gene, nor did I have it in my family. I’m now cancer-free. It’s positive and my personal story is a great one. The feeling I had after the mastectomy was one of gratefulness. And now, I’m committed to helping whomever. I even showed one of the women who works for the company my breast to show her what I went through. “

Marisa Thalberg
“I have friends who are fighting breast cancer right now. I’m always amazed by its reach. It’s people my age, younger, older. It’s the number 1 cancer affecting women. We know that research dollars that go toward researching breast cancer goes toward all cancers. It’s vey personal that way.

Evelyn Lauder realized that 20 years ago, the world wasn’t ready to talk about the disease. It was talked about in hushed tones. It affects millions of people around the world and it’s treatable when caught early. Even in countries where women aren’t as empowered to talk about such things are able to join the community and get the message out via social media. The campaign shows the enduring commitment of the Estee Lauder companies. We wanted the campaign to be centered in Facebook because of its global reach. With the timeline feature, it was a perfect time to have a collaborative timeline with our own community. The theme is courage and we came up with 20 years of courage–past, present and future. The thinking is that we could populate with some of the major milestones that we’ve helped effect in terms of medical research and then allow the global community to put their own milestones in–five years free of breast cancer, one year since I went for my first mammogram.

We also realize that we live in a multi channel world, so we have people using #BCA20 on Instagram or Twitter, that content will get pulled into an aggregation on our Facebook page. And we did our first integration with Viddy–like instagram with video. There’ll be a pink filter for October. The last piece is of the program is in China. It’s an important country but Facebook isn’t available there so we did a special program for them on Sina Weibo, a social network. 15 Estee Lauder brands are participating across 30+ countries. We want to spread awareness: Breast cancer is a curable disease if caught early.”

Share your story and learn more on the Estee Lauder BCA Facebook page: facebook.com/BCACampaign.

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