Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Kymberle Landrum Sterling

Second Advisor

Dr. Lyudmila Popova


Introduction: The role of media in the organizing of events which create awareness has contributed immensely in raising awareness about breast cancer (Komen, 2016). One in eight women is a victim of the disease (Puntoni, 2011). With increasing awareness, health has become a significant area of focus for Corporate Social Responsibility, which includes the various initiatives taken by corporations to contribute to their social, environmental and ethical responsibilities. This encourages health promotion efforts, such as breast cancer awareness advertisements and empowers consumers with improved lifestyle choices and social consciousness (Moreira, 2014) (WHO, 2008).

Aim: To analyze the content of breast cancer awareness advertisements by brands to study the messages communicated and understand the level of health appeal by various brand categories.

Methods: Breast cancer awareness advertisements from October 2015 and October 2016 on internet platforms belonging to men and women’s wear brand categories were selected. Out of the sixty (60) advertisements collected, a content analysis was conducted on thirty-five (35) of the advertisements. These were coded for basic characteristics and important themes such as mention of the brand’s products in text or image, health related appeal, information related to breast cancer, prevention measures, use of donations and gender oriented approach.

Results: Most of the awareness advertisements (94%, n=33) promoted the brand’s products through text, image or both. Only 23% (n=8) of the advertisements contained breast cancer related information and majority of the advertisements (83%, n=29) were gender oriented towards femininity. The Fisher’s Exact test showed a statistically significant association between the different brand categories (makeup, jewelry, lingerie, athletics, others) and the level of health appeal in the advertisements (p- value 0.0062).

Discussion: Brands use breast cancer awareness advertisements to promote their products and increase sales. Online advertisements have a wide audience and the potential to spread useful health content, if the platform is utilized to its maximum potential by both corporations and nonprofit organizations for health promotion and education.