Cosmetics giant Estée Lauder is expanding the fight against breast cancer. In an exclusive interview, executive chairman William P. Lauder explains how.
Lauder speaks with Estée Lauder employees in London in support of the campaign.
This month, the Estée Lauder Companies launches its annual Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, but this year the initiative is taking a decidedly activist tone. Indeed, its slogan could be considered deliberately provocative: “Every Action Counts. What’s Yours?”
Invasive breast cancer will affect one in every eight women, an alarming figure that the Lauder Companies hopes to reduce through this campaign, which, since its inception in 1992, has raised more than $58 million to support global research, education, and medical services, with close to $46 million funding 185 medical research grants worldwide over the past 21 years through the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Most of the money raised this year will support the BCRF.
This year the focus shifts to social media. By posting on Instagram or tweeting using the hashtag #BCAstrength, the global community can spread the messages of support and progress espoused by the initiative, which will culminate on World Cancer Day, February 4, 2016, with the unveiling of an international multimedia project based on this October campaign. (All stories submitted via BCAcampaign.com between October 1 and December 31 are eligible for inclusion.)
Here, in an exclusive interview, William P. Lauder, executive chairman of the Estée Lauder Companies, shares his passion for the fight against breast cancer and explains how the globalizing power of social media can push that fight in our favor.
What are your goals for the 2015 Breast Cancer Awareness campaign? We want to raise awareness beyond borders [by] inviting people worldwide to share in “Every Action Counts. What’s Yours?” We used to mainly focus on October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but we’ve extended our campaign year-round, with an extra focus on October and February for World Cancer Day.
How is the power of social media raising the bar? If you go back to the Ice Bucket Challenge, that campaign [to raise awareness of ALS] was powerful and driven by people’s desire to participate through social media. It made clear the [attention] that social media can bring to issues like breast cancer awareness, so we decided to harness that enthusiasm and sense of global community in this year’s campaign.
The campaign has been funding the BCRF since 1992. What are some of the advances that this effort supports? The focus on funding research to find a cure is key. Research funded by the BCRF [is] now beginning to go into clinical trials and is being put into clinical practice. If you look at the improved cure rates and diagnoses, it is very impressive. For many patients, breast cancer has become a bump in the road instead of being life-threatening.
What has helped inspire you and evolve your role? I am passionate about the BCA campaign and the Pink Ribbon campaign, which was started by my mother, Evelyn H. Lauder. [She] showed that we as a company could project a true soul to the consumer… [through] the energy and enthusiasm of our more than 40,000 employees around the world.