Footnote for the Breast

A way around a cultural taboo

In Arab culture, many subjects are considered taboo. Openly speaking about breast cancer is definitely one of them.


In fact, using the word “breast” is considered sensitive, so it’s referred to as “chest” cancer in Arabic. To get around this cultural taboo and at the same time reach out to Arab women, The Classic Partnership Dubai, a Y&R brand, created the Footnote For The Breast Initiative for Medcare Women and Children Hospital, a leading healthcare provider in the region.

The initiative involved using pebbles stamped with a simple message. As Arab women left behind their shoes on shelves outside the prayer hall of mosques, the pebbles were discreetly placed into them. When they returned after prayers, they would feel the pebble as soon as they put on their shoes. The reaction of immediately checking the “lump” found in the shoe is symbolic to how one should react when a lump is discovered on the breast.

The initiative was a huge success. The cost for producing and implementing the idea was marginal, yet the impact on raising awareness amongst Arab women was significant based on the number of pebbles versus the number of calls received.

The Footnote For The Breast was awarded a Grand Prix, two Golds and three Silvers at Dubai Lynx 2016.