I Like It On My Desk

My purse of course…

Does anyone remember the Facebook statuses that prompted women to put simply the color of their bra for their status, or the “I like it…” followed by the location of your purse?

facebook_d_20101006122249The goal was to raise awareness for breast cancer, and it was meant to draw attention and get people to ask what it was all about. The post went viral and soon every timeline it seemed had the same post with no explanation as to the reason why. Did it actually raise awareness for breast cancer or merely spur a lengthy litany to follow about bad dates.

Something that we might want to note here was the question I ask… Did it? Did it actually help raise awareness?

This is a powerful form of social media mobilization called cyberactivism. But the question remains…Do all breast-cancer memes on Facebook really have to involve sexual innuendo?   

This was the question asked and it seems that with the underwear color, where you like your purse… each of these led the man’s eye to the woman. Not as an advocate for their health I’d venture but more to the innuendos that provoked it. Did it raise awareness?

Probably not, but it sure gained some interest.

This is likely that what made it viral was indeed the innuendo. For both men and women, the women carried a mystique, while the men wanted to know what it was. Has anyone heard the old saying sex sells? In this case, the sex was only implied, but it offered the one thing that many seek in social media… Attention.

What is cyberactivism, and how can it help with marketing?

We actually see it every day on social media, we see it in political posts, we see it when others are raising money for causes on their birthday, we see ribbons, flags and sports team profile picture filters. It’s everywhere! The question is how do we harness it?



Wouldn’t we all want to incorporate these things into our messages and capitalize on the power of a viral internet meme? This is the holy grail of marketers in the social media age. According to Mahoney and Tang, the utilization of social media to ignite behavior change exists on a tricky continuum. Cyberactivism should go beyond awareness only. Tangible action is tied to the messages that correspond to the initiative’s goals.

“I like it… On the Desk.”

If there is to be cyberactivism uses for content, it needs to have more information that would lead those that see the content to the cause. It should lead to engagement beyond the innuendo. Brand awareness, product awareness, brand loyalty, and consumer engagement beyond the cause is the reason so many companies choose to engage in it.

The “game” should offer the consumer the engagement relative to the cause along with a side of the brand. The action that is tied to the message needs to have a tangible promise of more than an innuendo.

Figuring out that special way to encourage active engagement? Now that is a skill.



  1. Hi DJ, I remember the campaign and more so, being involved in it, thinking it was more engaging and it served to bring the cause to the forefront of my mind at the time, but at the same time, it was clearly something that was not really going to create a directly trackable actionable result. Now I see more trends on social media that are directly tied to action such as donating and more, things that really not only raise awareness but make an actual difference.


  2. Hi DJ!

    The way in which you approached the Breast Cancer Meme case study was both interesting and thought provoking! I’d like to begin by saying that, although the memes may not have informed their intended audiences about breast cancer, I do believe that the majority of the people who saw those posts did come to learn that the status updates were, at the very least, a woman’s way of showing their support for those impacted by breast cancer (Mahoney & Tang Tang, 2017, pp. 71-72). As you pointed out, the sexual nature of the memes probably helped them reach viral status, but is that necessarily a bad thing (Cooper, 2020; Mahoney & Tang Tang, 2017, pp. 71-72)? What if the memes encouraged both men and women to make mysterious, innuendo-based statuses? Would the participation from both sides make the innuendos okay?

    Regardless of the route that the memes took to gain attention, they could’ve done a better job of actually raising awareness for breast cancer (Mahoney & Tang Tang, 2017, pp. 71-72). Perhaps the status updates could’ve included a link that viewers could click on to learn about the campaign and why it matters (Mahoney & Tang Tang, 2017, pp. 71-72). Maybe this link would provide individuals with facts about breast cancer, where to donate and how they could volunteer their time if they felt called to do so (Mahoney & Tang Tang, 2017, pp. 71-72). The memes with the innuendos could then be used as a way to attract individuals who might not otherwise pay attention to breast cancer, while also providing references to the individuals who want to learn more (Mahoney & Tang Tang, 2017, pp. 71-72). In order for mobilization to take place, however, the campaign would need to find a way to encourage the individuals who find themselves invested in the cause to share even more information with their networks outside of the initial, innuendo-based status updates (Mahoney & Tang Tang, 2017, pp. 70-72). What are some ways in which the campaign could’ve taken additional steps to encourage users to not only learn more about the cause, but to get involved and then share that involvement with their personal networks (Mahoney & Tang Tang, 2017, pp. 70-72)?

    – Jessica

    Cooper, D. J. (2020, February 20). I like it on my desk. Retrieved from

    Mahoney, L. M. & Tang Tang. (2017). Strategic social media: From marketing to social change.
    John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  3. Great post! I liked the title of your post, and how you used the same attention grabbing example as the breast cancer meme did. I think it goes into play with what you are saying in your post-how it actually did not cause any real-life mobilization. Your blog post is engaging and visually appealing to a reader. Excellent work!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s