Breast cancer will affect one in nine New Zealand women in their lifetime. It’s an issue that impacts families across the nation, leaving a trail of heartache wherever it goes. Fortunately, in many cases, early detection can lead to survival.
The problem, however, is that detecting the disease requires Kiwi women to be to be cognisant of the early symptoms, so that they can seek help from a doctor. For this reason, the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation (NZBCF) dedicates much of its funding to educating Kiwi women about the disease. And after noticing the good work that the foundation had done, Farmers stepped in and lent its support to the cause.
At the outset, the team at Farmers understood that the company had a strong connection to Kiwi women. Of the 500,000 customers who belonged to the Farmers Club loyalty programme, 90 percent
were women—meaning that as many as 41,000 members will potentially develop the disease at some stage of their lives.
So Farmers set three objectives that it aimed to achieve through its sponsorship of NZBCF: firstly, to raise awareness of breast cancer and the services provided by NZBCF; secondly, to educate
customers about detecting signs of the disease; and, lastly, to raise funds for the foundation.
To take on the first objective, Farmers analysed its customer base across social media, the loyalty programme, mail programmes and its website to determine which segments the messaging would
be most relevant to. Specific, targeted messaging was sent out to customer segments, informing them about the campaign and the disease. And in addition to these efforts, Farmers also dressed its stores in campaign messages and spread the word via in-store radio.
But raising awareness was only part of the battle. Farmers still had to educate women on the symptoms. And the company employed a range of disruptive strategies to achieve this. ‘Boobead’ keyrings featuring breast cancer lumps were distributed in stores to remind women to self examine. Decals on the mirrors in lingerie dressing rooms provided information on how women could go about conducting a self-examination. And pamphlets, containing information related to breast cancer were inserted into customers’ shopping bags at checkout.
Then, when it came to raising funds, Farmers formed partnerships with Estee Lauder and Lingerie Brands, with both agreeing to donate a portion of profits made from sales to NZBCF. Estee Lauder agreed to donate 20 percent of the revenue made from the sales of selected products in its range, while Lingerie Brands contributed $1 for every Caprice bra sold in store.
Farmers also accepted donations across all its branches, and encouraged staff to dress up for an initiative called ‘Pink for a Day,’ which aimed to raise awareness of the fund-raising effort.
Over the month of October, the campaign reached over 1.5 million people. Research also showed that the campaign had an education reach of 600,000 customers, leading to much higher levels of
engagement across the NZBCF channels.
Phone calls to the NZBCF helpline increased by ten percent, Facebook likes shot up by 46 percent, the website attracted 269 percent more visitors and there was a marked rise in health checkups.
In addition to generating these unprecedented levels, the Farmers campaign raised $250,000, putting the organisation in a better position to assist Kiwi women in need.