News > Mark Gilbert > Ovarian Cancer Campaign

“Got ladyballs?” Ovarian cancer campaign a bit too ‘ballsy’ for some. It’s a campaign with cojones.

Or “ladyballs,” as Ovarian Cancer Canada is calling the female gonads — much to the chagrin of some of their followers.

“Women have balls, too. And they’re at risk,” the group’s latest video states, referring to women’s ovaries.

“Have the ladyballs to do something about it.” A number of women say the tagline has left them “stunned” and “offended.”

“Yes, I am aware that ovarian cancer needs to be discussed. Got it; you’re trying to be clever. I am a woman with ovaries. Not a woman with a lady ‘balls,’” Heather Doherty wrote on Facebook, adding that she found the ad sexist and insulting.

Ah, yes,” added Cleo Neville. “Because equating courage and strength to male anatomy is what every woman wants.”

Not everyone is upset about the ad, though.

Marketing experts agree that based on the increased awareness alone, the campaign seems to be a success.

“In the past, campaigns could win awards based on artistic characteristics; whether or not they are effective in delivering the desired objective seemed incidental. That has changed. Campaigns should be and are evaluated based on effectiveness,” said Angela Y. Lee, chair of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

“And this one seems to be getting on people’s radar even though the reactions are not all positive.”

Behind the campaign

Over the course of the past year, five different campaigns were tested with a sample group of 1,000 Canadians. The “Ladyballs” campaign performed best.

Those surveyed described it with words like empowered, strong, curious, proud and important.

  • 77% said the campaign was compelling.
  • 70% said it made them think of ovarian cancer in a new way.

Mars explained that rather than focussing on sad facts to illicit sympathy, Ovarian Cancer Canada chose to focus “on the strength of survivors and the power we all have to do something about women’s most fatal cancer.”

“To say that someone has ‘the balls to do something’ automatically elicits thoughts of an individual who is daring, brave or courageous.

“Some assign this term to men, but in our opinion these traits apply to people regardless of gender. Women have balls, too, literally female gonads are in fact our ovaries.

The disease has been called a “silent killer.” It claims the lives of five Canadian women every day.

Read more HERE.