Cosmetics giant Estée Lauder is expanding the fight against breast cancer. In an exclusive interview, Executive Chairman William P. Lauder explains how.
William P. Lauder
This month the Estée Lauder Companies launches its annual Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) campaign, in the form of an active and provocative call to arms: “Every Action Counts. What’s Yours?”
Invasive breast cancer will affect one in every eight women, an alarming statistic that the Lauder Companies hopes to change. Since its inception in 1992, the campaign has raised more than $58 million to support global research, education, and medical services, with close to $46 million funding 185 Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) medical-research grants over the past 21 years.
This year the focus is on social media. By posting on Instagram or tweeting using #BCAstrength between October 1 and December 31, 2015, the global community can share support and progress. On World Cancer Day, February 4, 2016, an international multimedia project will be unveiled.
Here, Estée Lauder Companies Executive Chairman William P. Lauder reveals his passion for the fight against breast cancer and explains how the globalizing power of social media can bring new levels of awareness to the search for a cure.
What are your goals for the 2015 campaign? We want to raise awareness [by] inviting people to share in “Every Action Counts. What’s Yours?” We used to focus on October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but we’ve extended our campaign yearround, focusing on October and February for World Cancer Day.
How is the power of social media raising the bar? The “Ice Bucket Challenge” [to raise awareness of ALS] was driven by people’s desire to participate through social media. It made clear the [attention] that social media can bring to issues like breast cancer awareness, so we decided to harness that enthusiasm and sense of global community.
The BCA has been funding the BCRF since 1992. What does this effort support? Funding research to find a cure is key. Research funded by the BCRF [is] now in clinical trials and being put into clinical practice. If you look at the improved cure rates and diagnoses, it is very impressive. For many patients, breast cancer has become a bump in the road instead of being life-threatening.
What inspires you? I am passionate about the BCA and the Pink Ribbon Campaign that was started by my mother, Evelyn Lauder. [She] showed that as a company we could project a true soul to the consumer… [through] the energy and enthusiasm of our more than 40,000 employees around the world.