Havas Chicago Put a Boxing Ring in Its Lobby for ‘Breast Cancer Fight Club’

Getting physical for a good cause

Yo, cancer, you’re going down!

Havas Chicago puts a literal spin on knocking out the deadly disease by installing a regulation-size boxing ring in its office lobby and inviting guests to throw punches (at a bag, not each other) as part of a new “Breast Cancer Fight Club” campaign.

Punches are digitally tracked, with wall monitors keeping count, and Havas is donating 25 cents per jab, uppercut, roundhouse right (or whatever) to The Pink Agenda, a nonprofit group supporting the cause.

So, why a boxing motif for Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

“The feeling of fighting back isn’t just on the person battling the disease, it’s on the support system as well,” says Madeline Myers, a content writer at The Annex, Havas’ cultural network dedicated to emerging consumers. “For me, boxing allows people to actually feel the fight. Right hook, left jab, punch after punch—when you take a stand and get active, the energy you exude energizes others around you.”

Plus, this is an ad agency, so there should be plenty of folks looking to violently vent their frustrations over torpedoed campaigns and the like.

“It’s a reaction the to the passive pinkwashing of breast cancer awareness,” says Jason Peterson, Havas’ U.S. creative chief. “This all started four years ago when I was walking in the city and saw pink on the buildings. I knew we could do something better. This is not a passive disease, and it needs to be met with a complete and utter punch in the face.”

Indeed, Fight Club is just the latest Havas installation designed to battle breast cancer. It follows last year’s roomful of balloon boobs (supporting self-exams) and 2015’s “Topless Peep-Show” lobby transformation.

This year’s boxing-themed effort also includes a GoFundMe page.

For Myers, the Fight Club has personal significance.

“My best friend’s mother is a wellness warrior—pilates, yoga, hiking, clean eating. The healthy lifestyle she embodied for herself and her family has always been an inspiration to me,” she says. “In 2013, my friend was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and her mother with breast cancer. When doctors say it can happen to anyone, they’re right.”

She adds, “Just because breast cancer happens to one individual does not mean others aren’t affected. This installation is meant to get people involved, bring individuals from all walks of life together to fight on the same team against something many of us could not fathom fighting alone.”

@DaveGian davegia@hotmail.com David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.