Behind The Work

TRAUMA INTO TRIUMPH

Senior Writer and Editor
Patricia Murphy joined Havas Group in October 2019 as a Senior Editor and Writer. She has a background in digital journalism and content creation.
Havas Health Plus’ Allison Ceraso introduces scART to the network, a line of bespoke temporary tattoos designed to empower cancer survivors.

The collaborative effort drew together the world’s largest transient tattoo provider, Momentary Ink, and the I Had Cancer advocacy community, to create a custom line of tattoos designed for specific scars left behind from cancer surgeries and procedures.

Here, Allison, President and Chief Creative Officer of Havas Health Plus, explains the campaign and her hopes that scART will help those living in the aftermath of the disease.

scART – Meet the Survivors – Bailey Walsh from scART on Vimeo.

How did scART come about?

Havas Health Plus has always been connected to the cancer community, and has a long-standing relationship with the advocacy group, I Had Cancer. In speaking with survivors living with visible scars of various cancer surgeries, the creative team uncovered a powerful insight – beating cancer makes you feel strong and victorious, but it’s difficult to put it behind you when the scars it leaves behind are a constant reminder. These scars take a very different, and psychological toll on survivors and can lead to depression, anxiety, social and intimacy issues. One survivor told us she had to raise all her mirrors in her home, so she wouldn’t see her scars every time she looked at her reflection. Another survivor told us she was bullied in high school because of the thyroid scar across her neck. We felt we had to do something to help. Our creative team, Takae Takahashi and Tracy Zuto, created the scART concept, which brought together the unconventional collaboration of Momentary Ink and I Had Cancer. We tapped into the cancer community (led by founder Mailet Lopez) for content inspiration and guidance, and the design team at Momentary Ink (led by Brandon Study, Brand Manager) to co-create this product line. 

Tell us about the media campaign for scART.

Right now, we are preparing for the full launch of the product line and are currently co-creating designs that are inspired by the stories of survivors from the I Had Cancer community. For example, one survivor, Jen, has helped design a scART tattoo called Resilience (a wildflower appropriately named for its strength and ability to grow anywhere), which will be worn by Jen, her mother who also has cancer, and her daughter in solidarity.

“In speaking with survivors living with visible scars of various cancer surgeries, the creative team uncovered a powerful insight – beating cancer makes you feel strong and victorious, but it’s difficult to put it behind you when the scars it leaves behind are a constant reminder.”

Another survivor, Gaby, helped design a scART called ‘Free As Bird On A Wire,’ where one bird is different than the rest. For her, this represented moments of freedom from her cancer, but never forgetting that she is still tethered to her experience with the illness. We will be sharing these stories, along with the finished products and try-on experiences, through paid and organic efforts across social platforms to reach the Momentary Ink and I Had Cancer communities. We are also looking to print efforts in tattoo and cancer/health related media after the initial launch.­

Who is scART’s target audience?

The main goal of this product is to help those cancer survivors who are living with the psychological burden as a result of their visible surgery scars. While there are many efforts in the world to help survivors embrace their scars and wear them proudly, and many do, there is a population of silent sufferers who simply cannot get there. For these survivors, we want scART tattoos to draw them out of the shadows and help them regain their self-esteem and confidence. Cancer scars often have a distinct shape, size, and location. The scars left from a lumpectomy, mastectomy, thyroidectomy, or nephrectomy can now be covered, or enhanced, with powerful symbols of survival that align with their physical presentations. Since scART tattoos are made for these scars, designed by survivors with these scars, they each have a story and symbol of survival behind them. 

“This unconventional collaboration between Havas Health Plus, I Had Cancer, and Momentary Ink, proves that true innovation comes from diverse backgrounds, experiences, expertise, and above all, empathy for others.”

As we spoke to more survivors, we realised there are two other targets for whom scART is also a welcome innovation. Those who are comfortable with their scars sometimes want to highlight and accentuate them. scART tattoos are a great way to spark conversation and raise awareness, so we are co-creating designs with those survivors as well. As you might imagine, every survivor also comes with their own support system of family and friends, and scART tattoos are a great way to show solidarity with the ones they love. It is our ambition to expand into other areas and help other people living with scars, for instance from surgery or trauma, in the same way we are helping cancer survivors.

What’s next for scART?

We are still in the pilot phase, developing the prototypes and distributing them to the survivors who are co-creating with I Had Cancer and Momentary Ink so we can optimise for the full product launch this summer. The scART line will ultimately be available for purchase on the Momentary Ink site.

What makes this project so unique?

This unconventional collaboration between Havas Health Plus, I Had Cancer, and Momentary Ink proves that true innovation comes from diverse backgrounds, experiences, expertise, and above all, empathy for others. The response from the community has been overwhelming and it has been a true co-creation of a product line, designed around the powerful link between survivors emotional and physical needs. The line speaks volumes through design and messaging to empower survivors, and their loved ones.

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