Nipples banned from TV breast cancer ad

MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 09:46 01/10/2013
ScottishGovernment

An innovative breast-cancer campaign produced by the Scottish Government, deemed unsuitable for New Zealand TV.

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Kiwi prudishness has complicated the Breast Cancer Foundation's adaptation of a Scottish advert credited with a massive increase in breast cancer awareness in Scotland.

The foundation said it had to find creative ways to get its message across after the Commercial Approvals Bureau told it nipples were not allowed in television advertising.

The foundation had been considering a New Zealand adaptation of an advert made last year for the Scottish Government featuring actress Elaine C Smith.

The Scottish advert highlighted some of the lesser-known symptoms of breast cancer "beyond a lump", and  led to a 50 per cent increase in the number of Scottish women consulting their doctor about possible breast cancer symptoms.

Constrained by the "no nipples" ruling, the foundation said it had worked with agency Colenso BBDO to develop The Naked Truth campaign, in which strategically-positioned pot plants, balloons and cupcakes illustrated symptoms such as skin changes, changes in size, and redness.

The campaign will screen throughout October, urging women to report any changes to their doctor and inviting them to visit new website www.anychanges.co.nz, for more education.

"Around half of the breast cancers in New Zealand are first detected through a symptom that the woman notices," foundation chief executive Van Henderson said.

"Yet only five per cent of women are aware that puckering or dimpling of the skin can be a symptom, and only two per cent know an inverted nipple may mean breast cancer. We believe the importance of knowing all the signs and symptoms far outweighs the CAB's concern, and we wanted women to know exactly what those signs look like."

Edinburgh woman Janet Brodie has said the Scottish advert saved her life. She went to her doctor after seeing the advert as she realised she had some of the signs of breast cancer. Five tumours were found and the 54-year-old is now in recovery after having two operations, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The campaign had been straight to the point, leaving no doubt what she was looking for.

The Bureau is separate from the Advertising Standards Authority. It is an industry body with, according to its website, the purpose to "protect the reputation of broadcasters and minimises compliance risks for advertisers by vetting all television ads before they are broadcast". 

WARNING SIGNS: This graphic shows some of the symptoms of breast cancer.

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- Fairfax Media

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