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AstraZeneca Spurs Breast Cancer Awareness with Paper Dolls


Pharmaceutical Executive

Pharmaceutical ExecutivePharmaceutical Executive-10-17-2007
Volume 0
Issue 0

New Web site allows users to create tribute dolls for breast cancer survivors. For every doll made, AZ will donate $1 to charity.

AstraZeneca is celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a viral online campaign designed as a tribute to breast cancer survivors and a way to generate cash for a worthy cause.

Launched October 1, in conjunction with agency Digitas Health, the interactive Web site titled Celebration Chain invites people to create paper dolls in the likeness of breast cancer survivors. The site features an intuitive interface that is easy-to-use and rather versatile (think create-a-Simpson, but with pink skin instead of yellow).

"We wanted to address survivorship, and that's really what Celebration Chain is all about," said Meryl Weinreb, consumer brand director of oncology at AstraZeneca. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are more than 2 million women who are breast cancer survivors in the United States, with unique issues and concerns."

The paper dolls serve more as a representation of the person rather than a spitting image. According to AZ, the company wanted to capture the essence of the person—their characteristics, attributes, what's inside—rather than the physical part. For every doll made, AstraZeneca donates $1 to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, an organization that helps women with life after breast cancer.

"One of the wonderful things about the Web is having the ability to make a site interactive," Weinreb said. "This was a way to involve a group of people who are already deeply involved in this community?and do it in a way that allows them to create an expression of how they feel about themselves and how their loved ones feel about them."

Rather than keep the site as a health information portal, AZ decided to make it an obvious branded campaign for Arimidex (anastrozole). The drug is typically prescribed to postmenopausal women with early stage breast cancer who have estrogen-receptor positive disease.

"We wanted to let people know what our brand felt about survivors and survivorship, and this is a medication that helps reduce a risk of a breast cancer occurrence," Weinreb said. "This drug helps assure that breast cancer survivors stay survivors."

The company did a soft launch of the site with little promotion in the beginning of the summer, which helped AZ net 4,749 paper dolls as of press time. In the near future, the company plans to increase promotion and enhance the site with additional character animation and attributes, as well as with a search engine to find dolls.

"The fact that we have had this kind of response with very little promotion really speaks to the viral nature of the Web and the involvement of the people who come to a site like this," Weinreb said.

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