Breast cancer charity link up with Sun’s Page 3 causes controversy
By Will Hoyles on Tuesday, March 4, 2014
In what is either a very smart or a very naive move breast cancer charity Coppafeel, which encourages women to check their breasts for signs of cancer, has linked up with The Sun’s Page 3 for a campaign that brings Page 3 to page one today.
The campaign will undoubtedly garner huge attention for Coppafeel among the young female demographic they’re aimed at and as well as the front page of Britain’s most popular newspaper they’ve already appeared on Lorraine Kelly’s show on morning TV. However, internet commentary is already suggesting that they’re being used by The Sun to give legitimacy to the much maligned Page 3. A request for readers to tweet pictures of them holding their breasts won’t help.
I doubt much of the audience they’re reaching out to today will have strong opinions about Page 3 and the charity will probably feel that if any women who see the campaign check themselves and as a result are diagnosed earlier then it’s been a huge success but there could be wider implications for the charity’s ongoing support.
Coppafeel, whose message of regular checks is itself disputed by some doctors, have built their profile on celebrity endorsements from the likes of Gemma Cairney and Fearne Cotton and with many of those that they might target for support in future being linked to feminist campaigns like No More Page 3 and Everyday Sexism it might now be harder for them build high-profile relationships.
I’m a strong advocate of charities not shying away from gimmicks and controversy if it serves their purposes and doesn’t undermine their core mission but in this case I think Coppafeel may have made a misstep. The Sun on the other hand will probably have shored-up much needed support for Page 3.
UPDATE 4/3/14 14:30 – Unsurprisingly the campaign has received a fair bit of attention already on social media long time supporter of Coppafeel, Fearne Cotton, has ignored the controversy and tweeted her support, No More Page 3 have responded reiterating their condemnation of Page 3 but wishing Coppafeel well, and Emma Barnett, Women’s Editor of the Daily Telegraph, has voiced concerns about the partnership.
You can see a selection of responses from Twitter here.
UPDATE 4/3/14 15:00 – Another breast cancer charity, Breakthrough, have criticised the campaign saying it could trivialise the disease.