It was especially effective when evaluated for the specific demographic segmentation the organization was targeting. Young adult males were particularly inclined to watch the commercial, thanks to the buxom, bikini-clad beauty as the star. In addition, young adult females were more likely to relate to the star of commercial, more so than if they had cast a middle-aged housewife. Although these demographics were more likely to watch the commercial, such a small portion of the commercial was devoted to the actual message, it's difficult to determine the effectiveness on whether or not these viewers would take action, such as learning more about breast cancer or conducting monthly self breast exams, or other behaviors that would help with early detection of breast cancer, to ensure the likelihood of survival.
Regarding the seven Ps of marketing, the Save the Boobs campaign was more effective than originally anticipated regarding the place of the message, thanks to the added bonus of the controversy that surrounded the campaign and the global play of the commercial thanks to world news leaders like CNN and postings on YouTube.com. Promotion could have been enhanced, however, if the message was given more attention, in lieu of some of the gratuitous jiggling. Physical evidence also was significantly lacking. Although viewers can go to the Rethink Breast Cancer website, a tangible piece of marketing material was not available, such as a brochure.
Although the campaign was an effective piece of advertising, in that it grabbed viewer's attention, caused a flurry of media due to the controversy, and was memorable, there were other areas where it was lacking. Sales promotions were not linked to the campaign itself. In addition, the controversial nature of the questionably sexual theme of the commercial may have a negative effect on public relations.
As the marketing manager for the Save the Boobs campaign, for the Rethink Breast Cancer organization, there are several things that can be done differently, in order to improve the effectiveness of the campaign. The campaign's controversial nature would be addressed first. Although the current ad featuring the young MTV host bouncing around the pool, with slow motion close ups of her breasts as onlookers ogle her, does catch the attention of red-blooded males, it also offends some of the primary demographic directly affected by breast cancer -- women. Although this campaign may have been primarily targeted towards men, alienating women in the process is not beneficial for the long-term organizational image of Rethink Breast Cancer. For this reason, the campaign would have been better for public relations if it wasn't so sexually exploitative, but retained some of the spirit, and attraction, to ensure it garnered the attention of their primary target audience. This would also help ward off against the threats looming due to feminist organizations and other unhappy viewers at the sexual content of the campaign.
Regarding the marketing mix, the organization misses out on an opportunity to incite action in the viewer. The promotion should include some sort of physical evidence, such as calling a phone number to receive a pamphlet about how to do breast self-exams, or to receive a brochure on the Rethink Breast Cancer annual events. This would further give viewers a chance to interact with people in the organization, rather than simply going to the organization's website or doing nothing at all. This people component would further build the image of the organization, in the mind of the general public and help build the organizational image. In addition, this can help the organization help monitor the effectiveness of their campaign. The response rate can be measured by the requests for these materials. This can then be used to determine which time slots and days of the week, as well as channels, are the most effective for their marketing dollar. Although this campaign may be seen as a type of public service announcement for increasing breast cancer awareness, there is also a secondary goal of increasing publicity for Rethink Breast Cancer, which also includes garnering donations. Therefore, it's important not only that the organization use their previously donated resources wisely, for marketing, but also effectively to get more future donations.
Personal selling opportunities could have also been created if the campaign was tied to an upcoming fundraising event, such as one of their film festivals or balls. The advertisement could have been changed to include information about an upcoming event, and details on how to get tickets. Special discounts on tickets could be offered through the campaign to not only encourage new people to come to a Rethink Breast Cancer fundraiser, but also to help, again, track the effectiveness of their marketing campaign.
The message of the campaign, that men and young adult women need to be more aware of the dangers of breast cancer, especially for younger women, shouldn't be altered. This is valuable information, and serves the educational mission of the organization. However, it is the encoding of the message that needs to be changed. As mentioned, the sexually demeaning tone of the campaign definitely needs to be changed. Less focus on the star's breasts and more on the reaction of the male (and female) pool party-goers would still give the same idea the campaign is going for, but without being as offensive. The improved encoding of the message would also contain more of the message itself. As it was produced, the actual meat of the message -- that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in younger adult women -- only appears for a couple of seconds, barely enough time for the viewer to read it. For this reason, viewers may be more inclined to remember the breasts in the commercial and not the reason why the commercial is so important to the breasts.
These changes in the encoding would make drastic changes in the decoding results. First, the users who had a negative response to the campaign may not have been so offended if the message was encoded differently. In addition, perhaps more focus on the actual message would make the campaign more effective in actually educating viewers, rather than just stirring up controversy. Although in its current form, the campaign is memorable, as a whole, the message may be lost.
This is the biggest mistake in the campaign. Although marketing communications need to capture the receiver's attention and be something they remember after the communication is over, the communication needs to also effectively motivate the receiver to take the desired action. For the Rethink Breast Cancer organization the desired action is to learn more about breast cancer and possibly donate to their organization so they can further their educational efforts. Although there is a very small percentage of the communication that educates the viewers about the dangers of breast cancer for younger adult women, it doesn't motivate the viewer to take any specific action.
For this reason another change that would be made, in addition to toning down the encoding of the message, would be to associate it with some physical evidence. Rethink Breast Cancer has a very effective website. The site features a host of educational information, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and other resources people can turn to. Visitors to the website can sign up for the organization's newsletter. They can learn how they can become involved in fundraising events, volunteer, shop to support the organization, and even get downloads they can use on their own blogs and social media pages. Website visitors can also learn more about the research being done to combat breast cancer, as well as the organization's Career Development Award, which awards young researchers $35,000 to $70,000 per year to pursue their breast cancer research projects ("Research" 2010). The Save the Boobs campaign should have directed viewers to the organization's website, as a virtual piece of physical evidence.
For an actual piece of physical evidence, the campaign should be changed to include an associated physical brochure that viewers can request. This could be an educational resource, such as directions for a self-breast exam or the ways women can reduce the risk of breast cancer. It also could be information tied to an upcoming event. Offering a special discount for those who have viewed the commercial, to one of their fundraising events, can encourage new people to attend these events, in addition to raising awareness.
Lastly, the channel Rethink Breast Cancer used for their Save the Boobs campaign, as it was created, may have better chosen. The commercial was originally aired on a variety of television channels in Canada. However, if the organization had only released it on more male-centric channels, such as sporting channels, this may have caused less controversy. Given the racier nature of the commercial, this campaign may have also been more appropriate for release via an Internet channel. Internet advertising could be further targeted to the campaign's desired demographic. In addition, Internet campaigns typically are given more slack when…