Ok, so I never made that my Facebook status. If you are in the dark about all the “I like it” Facebook statuses that started happening this month, women are writing about where they like it. Their purses, I mean. Where they like to put their purses. (Duh.) It's for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Supposedly.
Well, now I have some questions:
- How does telling the world where I like my purse spread awareness about breast cancer especially if it's in such a cryptic form? This sounds more like a “girls only” club, where only girls are allowed the privilege of being in the exclusive club. Doesn't this contradict the whole point of SPREADING awareness?
- Why does it have to have a sexual innuendo? Would that be considered disrespectful to survivors and non-survivors of breast cancer and their families to make a joke out of something serious?
- The answer to #2 is probably that if it didn't have a sexual innuendo, it probably wouldn't spread so fast, which brings me to the next question, which is do we really need to concentrate efforts on bringing awareness to this issue? I'm pretty sure everyone knows about breast cancer (thank yous go out to the month of October, pink ribbons and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. For Angelenos, there's also the annual run/walks in downtown LA, which, even if you are not a participant, you're very likely going to be aware of them due to the massive traffic that ensues after the organizers block off miles of street). If anything, I would argue that being aware of breast cancer in October is hard to avoid. I think that a more effective way to take a stand against breast cancer is to help find a cure, like donating to the aforementioned Susan G. Komen for the Cure or taking part in a run/walk for breast cancer such as one sponsored by Revlon or Avon.
- Not a question, but something else I thought of: I am totally going to break into everyone's house and steal purses that I know are kept on the nightstand, on the floor of the bedroom right up against the wall and on the kitchen counter (that is, until that boyfriend moves it to the top of the dryer).
You probably remember earlier this year when women were writing the color of their bras also supposedly to raise awareness for breast cancer. I highly doubt that these two viral Facebook status updates actually started off as trying to raise awareness for breast cancer. I cannot find a single credible source on the internet that shows me where either of these two started. Would this same thing work for men? For men, prostate cancer is the second biggest killer out of all cancers. What if men wrote the color of their boxers or where they like to put their wallets or satchels or murses (man purses)? First, would it spread, and second, would that raise awareness about prostate cancer?
Ok, end of rant. Sorry for being a Debbie Downer. I just don't see the point. On the other hand, maybe this would remind women to do their monthly checks for lumps or get that mammo they've been putting off.
The question bigger than, “How did this start?” is “how did this spread?” The answers might help you try to apply this free and viral strategy to your brand.
- Rumors overall agree that this started by email chains. Email chain forwarders usually have long lists of email addresses that they normally forward funny/interesting/useful emails, thus making them the “influencers” of email. The first step in any social marketing plan is usually to target the big influencers, and in this case, it's the annoying email chain forwarder.
- Point #2 relates to Question #1 above that states that this was a secret for for girls to keep. The exclusivity was appealing, as was snickering when boys commented on statuses asking for clarification. Feeling special and included makes people want to hop on the bandwagon that much more.
- Barrier to entry was very low. It seems that today, my own mother must be the only person without a Facebook account. All one had to do was to write a color or a place, and she automatically became a member of this “club,” a player in this exclusive, secret game, leading back to Point #2. It didn't take more than 2 seconds, so it's not a huge inconvenience to update something that is most likely already open in your browser.
- The (fabricated) tie-in to breast cancer awareness made people think they were contributing to a good cause, further increasing the incentives for participation.
Obviously, this isn't easy. It has to be something sassy and something that makes other people wonder enough to do some research to find out what it's about (or at least question publicly). Efforts will be hit-or-miss, but since it's all free, there's very little monetary loss.
Tags: facebook, meme