Focus: Communications - Free pink ribbons in women's glossy

This month, and for the first time ever, a glossy women's magazine has given away a Breast Cancer Campaign pink ribbon with every copy. But it wasn't Vogue or Cosmopolitan that took this innovative step - it was Asian Woman.

Although the issue of breast cancer was widely covered during October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, no other magazine has ever taken the step of giving away the symbolic emblem.

The magazine met the £5,500 cost of the 35,000 ribbons - a significant sum for a publication with a relatively modest circulation.

"Asian Woman should be applauded for what it has done," says Sangeeta Haindl, director of communications and marketing at Breast Cancer Campaign.

"I probably suggested the idea to all the women's glossies, but the others all said no because of the cost."

The magazine also contains an editorial spread written by the charity, which consists of an interview with a researcher and information on how women should examine their breasts.

It marks the beginning of a media partnership between Asian Woman and the Breast Cancer Campaign, which will see the two engaged in joint projects over the next year. The magazine will also hand out the charity's leaflets at events.

"Even before I joined the charity, I was aware that the issue of breast cancer wasn't being communicated to second-generation Asian women," says Haindl. "I have been trying to target the ethnic press and gay publications as part of our drive to reach a wider audience.

"There was a real feeling of synergy when we met Asian Woman - it is really committed."

The magazine is looking at a number of ways to educate its readers on health issues, and felt that giving away the ribbons would have a greater impact than relying on editorial alone.

Kelly Rahman, business promotions manager at Asian Woman, said: "You can pick up a magazine, read it and then put it away again. But if you wear the ribbon, you will keep thinking about the issue.

"Breast cancer is still a taboo subject among Asian women. They just don't talk about it."

indira.das-gupta@haynet.com.

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