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How CanTeen are using social media to show cancer who's boss

When digital technology is fast becoming the norm, it's important for campaigns to join offline and online channels. Jennifer Wood, National Bandanna Day Media Co-ordinator with CanTeen tells us how they've done it.

National Bandanna Day 2012

Through utilising Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, the development of an App and cross promoting content, the campaign aimed to achieve cut through in the online space to raise awareness of National Bandanna Day, and encourage the public to buy and wear a CanTeen bandanna during the month of October to help young people stand up to cancer. 

The theme for National Bandanna Day this year  is “show cancer who’s boss” which provided plenty of current and engaging material for use online. 

Rocking out on Facebook

RockTober app on FacebookOur strategy included Facebook advertising encouraging people to visit the National Bandanna Day Facebook page, and to enter our Rock-tober competition. The Rock-tober competition was designed to grow engagement with National Bandanna Day. The idea was that participants take a photo of themselves pulling their best rock star pose wearing a CanTeen bandanna, and post it on the competition page, with a prize up for grabs every week for four weeks. Entrants were also encouraged to share the post with their friends on Facebook and ask them to vote. So far there have been more than 50 entries and a myriad of voting, which has taken our campaign to a new level of audience engagement. 

Also on Facebook, we used a range of buttons that appeared on our National Bandanna Day page. One button clicked through to the Rock-Tober competition, and another that clicked through to a story about CanTeen Member Morgan, whose father died of cancer earlier this year, and described the devastating impact this had on her transition from childhood to teenage hood, to engage users in our cause. We also had a button that clicked through to a page where users were able to order bandannas, making the ordering process extremely efficient and visible. 

Creating your own bandanna on the go

Bandanna ArtCanTeen also partnered with Tribal DDB Melbourne to create  ‘Bandanna Art’— a world-first iPhone/iPad  appl that lets people create their very own, personalised bandannas. Via a range of tools, users are able to draw, stamp, colour-in or even write their bandanna design on their device, then have it printed and delivered directly to them, with 100% of all profits going directly to CanTeen.

Ken Done, the creator of CanTeen’s iconic logo, lent his support, designing bandannas using the application in his iconic style, also appearing as spokesperson in a promotional video for the application. We also featured a button for ‘Bandanna Art’ on our Facebook page.

Get trending on Twitter

The CanTeen Twitter feed has been instrumental in driving traffic to the Facebook page and the Bandanna Day website. CanTeen Ambassadors who are active on Twitter have been retweeting our tweets, as have many of the young people we support, increasing reach potential. Our aim is to have the hashtag #NBD2012 trending on Friday 26 October and CanTeen staff around the country involved in Bandanna Day events and activities will be sending photos to one central source who will then post content across social media channels and promote the hashtag on Twitter. 

Making the most of visuals

Christina ParieThe visual component of our campaign has been very effective and has attracted a large volume of likes, comments and retweets in the social media space. There have been photos of celebrities wearing bandannas and pulling rockstar poses, including XFactor finalists Christina Parie and Johnny Ruffo, as well as Kate Peck and the Hot 30 Countdown team. People have posted photos of their babies donning bandannas, as well as their pets, and there have been several pictures of our young people from our ‘show cancer who’s boss’ photo shoot sharing a sentence about the importance of standing up to cancer, adding a new level of engagement. 

Reaching out to bloggers

At the beginning of the campaign, we created a list of bloggers in our target audiences, and those with an interest in cancer. Each was sent a personalised email asking if they would publish an article to help raise awareness of National Bandanna Day, and so far CanTeen has been featured on 7 blogs including Easy Peasy Kids and Kate Says Stuff, dramatically increasing our reach potential. 

Sharing stories on YouTube

Another component of our campaign included uploading content on to our YouTube channel and sharing this across Twitter and Facebook. This included a clip called ‘What National Bandanna Day Means to Me’ which gave viewers an insight into the importance of National Bandanna Day to the young people supported by CanTeen. 

Each component of the online campaign has complimented the messaging in our offline campaign which utilised traditional media channels. 

CanTeen’s social media strategy has been successful in driving Bandanna sales throughout the month of October, as well as enjoying a strong recruitment of National Bandanna Day ambassadors who are committed to, and care about our cause.

Images via CanTeen


CanTeenAbout Jennifer Wood

Jennifer is the National Bandanna Day Media Co-ordinator at CanTeen. CanTeen - The Australian Organisation for Young People Living with Cancer - is a national support organisation for 12 - 24 year olds who are living with cancer, and is the only organisation of its kind in Australia.