Obsessed with Breasts in San Francisco

The Breast Cancer Fund in 2000 launched “Obsessed with Breasts”, a campaign designed to raise awareness of the realities behind mastectomies and challenge the objectification of womens breasts. Three large full-color ads were placed on bus shelters in the San Francisco Bay area in January and February 2000. The ads were designed to look like Victoria’s Secret (It’s No Secret), a Cosmopolitan Cover (Mastectomy), and an ad for Calvin Klein perfume (Obssessed with Breasts).

It's No Secret Breast Cancer Poster

Obsessed with Breasts Breast Cancer Poster

Mastectomy Breast Cancer Poster

Official response to the campaign was not all positive. Outdoor Systems, the billboard company with rights to San Francisco bus shelter advertising, backed out of the agreement to provide free displays when management saw the actual photographs. They were concerned about the reaction to the scarred torsos from San Francisco residents. Many of the posters in the Bay areas were taken down after complaints. Eller Media, another San Francisco outdoor advertising company, offered free space in May 2000 for the “Its No Secret” poster.

Credits

The Obsessed with Breasts campaign was developed at BBDO West, San Francisco, by creative director/copywriter Ken Mendelbaum and art director/photographer Heward Jue.

The ads feature the real scars of Andrea Martin, director of The Breast Cancer Fund, who underwent mastectomies in 1989 and 1991. Her scars are superimposed on the bodies of local models who volunteered for the campaign.

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