Ad Nut
Oct 27, 2021

Mammogram campaign uses Māori poem to reach at-risk women

AD NUT's RAVE OF THE WEEK: A beautiful campaign by Colenso BBDO for Breast Cancer Foundation NZ encourages women to honour their whakapapa by loving their breasts and getting a scan.

Breast Cancer Foundation NZ and Colenso BBDO worked with a Māori youth poets group, Ngā Hinepūkōrero, to create a mammogram campaign with a body-positive message rooted in ancestral attitudes.

Māori women are among the most at-risk but least screened for breast cancer, according to the agency. The campaign film features members of Ngā Hinepūkōrero reciting a poem, ‘Ahi Kā’, which calls on women to love their bodies the same way New Zealand’s first women did.

The group says:

The way wāhine Māori feel about our bodies has changed throughout generations. From our ancestors’ respect for their bodies, to our grandmothers’ feelings of shame and unacceptance, to the current generation’s reclamation of te ao Māori attitudes towards the body, and the love that comes from that. Our poem tells the story of wāhine Māori and their journey back to respecting their breasts. We’re thrilled to be part of this national campaign, encouraging women to honour their whakapapa by loving their breasts and getting a mammogram.”

The film shows the members of Ngā Hinepūkōrero and their mothers, illustrated by Atarangi Anderson and animated by Creature Post. The campaign, which has run through the month, includes TV, OOH and online.

Ad Nut finds the campaign thoroughly beautiful. It's rare and welcome to see work that is so steeped in a specific culture that grasping its vocabulary requires someone who is not steeped in that culture to perform a series of Google searches. That means the work is speaking directly to the people it's supposed to be persuading, which is after all what advertising is supposed to be about. Ad Nut found it enriching to learn some new words and explore the concept of whakapapa, and recommends that you do as well. And also, get a mammogram when it's time to do so!

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.

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