Mexico City, or D.F., as the locals so fondly call it, is a sassy Latin metropolis of both old world colonial culture and urban adventure. While in one pocket of the city you might find throngs of stalls brimming with small keepsakes, candy or woven décor amidst a lively marketplace, in others you’ll find blocks of designer stores, uber luxurious sky rise hotels, and some of the most innovative dining in North America. Yet with a population of over 20 million people, it’s no surprise that Mexico City also suffers from some of the worst traffic in the world. But what some may consider an irritating infrastructural issue is really a blessing in disguise for LIVESTRONG as we continue rolling out our global programs in Mexico.
As a key part of “Comparte tu Historia,” the national anti-stigma initiative we launched earlier this year in partnership with John Snow Inc., LIVESTRONG is sharing the stories of cancer survivors and their families widely across the country through various media platforms. Our goal is to foster hope by illustrating that cancer can be survivable, that cancer survivors can lead fulfilling lives, and to encourage both personal and public dialogue about the disease to ultimately reduce stigma and silence.
In such a crowded marketing space, making an impact has its challenges. Our strategy certainly includes utilizing mainstream media- television, radio, print publications, and social media. But when in Rome… do as the Romans do, right?
Which is exactly why last week, LIVESTRONG proudly took Comparte tu Historia mobile. No, not cell phone mobile. Think bigger. Much bigger.
If you were sitting in traffic in Mexico City today, you might see any number of public buses wrapped in the bold and empowered faces of cancer survivors, strewn across each side, 36 feet long and 9 feet high, challenging you to read their stories.
Veronica, a colon cancer survivor, is featured in images with her two daughters, and her bus shares her own words:
“This is me- this is who I am, and you know what? I’m fighting.”
Last Wednesday, we threw a celebration in honor of Veronica and the 11 other inspiring survivors who have so courageously shared their experiences so publicly in Mexico. After helping place the last few feet of branded wrap around one of the buses in our fleet, we jumped on board with Veronica and the other survivors and their families for the inaugural ride through the heart of the city. We handed out wristbands, cheered as passengers climbed on, and took the time to share the mission of the project with each rider, be they enthused, or doubting.
And what about the impact? Each of the ten buses will be seen by over 6 million people every day. That’s 6 million people every day, for 60 days.
Out of challenge, innovation is born. So although the traffic might be holding some people hostage on their daily commute, let’s just hope that they get stuck behind a black and yellow bus… because they just might need a little hope, a little inspiration, or a little information someday.