The American Lung Association’s women-focused initiative Lung Force is tapping into the fervor for true crime shows with its latest campaign, Lock Up Lung Cancer.
The video series has the feel of a true crime show, combining staged shadowy shots of homes with interviews of victims saying, “I couldn’t breathe” and “I just remember a shooting sharp pain, deep in my back.”
These survivors aren’t talking about being attacked by a person; they’re describing how it felt to have lung cancer.
“True crime is a genre that is not only popular, but can be very powerful,” said Deb Brown, chief mission officer of the American Lung Association. “[Women] look to true crime content to know how to survive, to identify fellow female survivors, and they are intrigued by psychological content. We’re borrowing from the true crime genre and meeting them in space where they’re already hooked.”
The campaign videos will run alongside streaming true crime content on networks such as Lifetime, TNT, A&E, and ID. The American Lung Association has also partnered with true crime podcasts, including “My Favorite Murder,” “Crime Junkie,” and “Criminal.”
The disease is the No. 1 cancer killer of women, Brown said, but it’s a “hidden killer.” Awareness about lung cancer among women is not high, despite death rates that have jumped nearly 80% in the past 40 years.
“Only 3% of women have it on their radar,” Brown said. “We’re always trying to look for ways to bring lung cancer to the front of everyone’s thoughts, but lung cancer is in the shadows. We’ve seen that needle move as we’re slowly approaching more awareness, but too many lives have been lost.”
Aside from raising awareness, the campaign is showing women how to protect themselves from lung cancer by not smoking, avoiding air pollutants, and exercising.
The organization worked with Edelman on the campaign, which kicked off Monday in the middle of Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Its goal is to encourage people to sign up for Lung Force and to contribute to the organization through donations and walks. Lung Force is the American Lung Association’s women focused initiative to increase awareness about lung cancer and improve treatments. It was launched in May 2014.
The organization also wants the campaign to serve as a reminder that anyone can get lung cancer, not only smokers or former smokers.
“We know it’s a hidden issue and a women’s issue and that too few women live to tell their stories,” Brown said. “This a provocative approach to inform people and get them to join Lung Force. We want people to remember that no one is safe from lung cancer educate individuals about how to protect themselves.”