Breast cancer ‘Booby Wall’ raises awareness online

Securing the anonymity of women who choose to post images of their breasts on the Booby Wall, an online site in support of breast cancer awareness, was a major factor in building the public platform, according to the chief creative officer behind the site’s design.

The Booby Wall is secure and completely confidential, said Philip Powell of Real Interactive, a Toronto-based interactive agency tasked with constructing the online forum that launched Thursday.

“That was obviously a huge part of the thinking in terms of trying to make this successful,” said Powell.

The online site is an initiative by Schick Quattro for Women in partnership with Rethink Breast Cancer, a program that teaches awareness of breast cancer and the importance of early detection.

Women can upload an image online, whereupon they will only be required to provide a first name or pseudonym as well as an e-mail address. Whatever name the person provides will be visible to the public, but the e-mail is used only for notification when the image becomes online and visible.

A comment or dedication is also optional.

To ensure integrity of images – that they are in fact of breasts, and no faces are visible – the submissions are securely routed to a staging server where they are first screened by a small administrative team made up of agency employees, said Powell.

He added the site’s data is stored in a secure on-site server.

The images, which can be either .gif, .jpeg, or .png, will remain on the site for as long as the initiative continues to receive public response, said Powell. “As long as it continues to be successful and women are responding to it and using the information on there, we’ll keep it alive.”

The project has a mobile counterpart as well. The Booby Booth will tour major Canadian cities for three months early this year. In fact, more than 400 women visited the booth during a test run this past fall at the L’Oreal Fashion Week and the National Women’s Show in Toronto, said Powell.

The success of the test was a confidence booster that the Booby Wall “could become the largest online interactive art exhibit in support of this cause,” said Helen Kargas, senior brand manager with Schick Canada Inc.

The mobile version is essentially an enclosed Booth equipped with a Mac computer with built-in iPhoto program, and manned by three to four female agency employees.

In an effort to make the mobile process as user friendly as possible, Powell said although the site may be Flash-based, the upload form is not. The photos are then saved onto the Mac’s hard drive and couriered to the agency.

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