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When Stella McCartney met Netflix’s Sex Education

Self-checking for breast cancer can be awkward to talk about. Even if we know we should check regularly, it can be easy to bury our heads in the sand – or even forget. But the power to take positive action lies in our own hands. Literally.

It all started when the Stella McCartney Cares Foundation had the idea of partnering with Netflix’s Sex Education for its next breast cancer awareness campaign.

The charity wanted Sex Education’s witty characters to deliver taboo-breaking advice directly to a young audience – and Netflix wanted to help.

Not only does Sex Education have a global reach in the millions, it’s also known for tackling complex issues like sexual identity, in a way that resonates with fans.

When they asked Deloitte’s creative agency ACNE to support the campaign, we knew we had an important job to do: find a memorable way to encourage young people to get checking.

That meant taking the conversation to social media.

Removing the awkward

ACNE senior strategist Rose Moncreiff worked alongside the partners on their brief: Let’s Talk About Breasts.  

“Partnering with these two amazing brands gave us the opportunity to get an incredibly important message across to young people in an engaging way on social media.

“Breast cancer is a difficult subject. Understandably, messages about it are serious. But self-checking is a positive thing we can all do. Because the best way to fight cancer is to detect it early.

“When we came up with the idea, it was really important for us to remove any negativity and awkwardness and to make it something people can talk about easily, while also wanting to educate on the common myths and misconceptions surrounding breast cancer. So we went to the people who do that best: the cast of Sex Education. We used a simple, three-word guide people would remember: Toilet. Teeth. Tits. And it worked.

“Through social sharing and earned media coverage, the campaign got people talking all over the world – about how self-checking for breast cancer saves lives.”


Toilet, Teeth, Tits

In TTT (Toilet, Teeth, Tits), Stella McCartney takes centre stage in a comically dated sex-ed video. She lectures some of the original Sex Education cast with well-worn breast cancer myths. But the students soon reject the lesson. Instead, they talk about breast cancer in a way that encourages people to bring self-checking into their normal routine. 

Go to the toilet, brush your teeth, check your tits: simple.

People tagged their friends to make sure they’d taken note

“The film became the most liked and engaged post on Stella McCartney’s Instagram feed ever!” says ACNE copywriter Joel Lindblad, part of the team that executed the campaign. 

Influencers including Kylie Minogue, Charlize Theron and Mia Regan shared the film across followings of all ages. And the support helped to kickstart a social conversation in which people shared their own experiences. 

“People shared stories of their mums and other family members being diagnosed. And cancer survivors said thank you for sharing the film,” Joel continues.

“Others said they hadn’t ever thought about checking. And we saw people tagging friends to make sure they’d also taken note.

“Knowing we’d helped to raise awareness like this made it all worthwhile.”

ACNE art director Mickey Shu-Ting Chan reflects on the campaign

“The partnership between these brands was like gold dust – creatively and because of their huge social followings. The film was viewed 2.6 million times in October 2021 alone!"

Looking back, a few elements stand out as really important in helping us to make an impact.

The three-part slogan


Born in the pandemic, the campaign took inspiration from Public Health England’s ‘Hands. Face. Space’ and many three-part slogans that went before it. Netflix was drawn to the idea of giving young people a routine to follow, and the simplicity of ‘TTT’ really worked.

Being authentic and funny


Humour and pushing against tropes on social media can really get noticed. But content has to be authentic. If the clip had felt inauthentic to the show, fans would have said “what is this!?” Sex Education’s showrunners cleverly made sure the clip was a natural extension of the show, and people’s comments showed how important that was.

Timing is everything


Initially, Stella McCartney previewed the film at London Fashion Week in February 2021, then it launched the following October, in Breast Cancer Awareness Week. Stella McCartney’s social accounts shared it as did Netflix UK & Ireland and Sex Education’s Instagram accounts and some cast members.”


The Toilet, Teeth, Tits video:

  • Reached over 13 million people
  • Generated over 2.6 million views in October 2021 alone
  • Earned 185 global media placements in five continents
  • Earned a free placement on the New York’s Times Square billboard, running for two weeks



Emma Cartwright

Marketing manager, ACNE London

075 1500 7734

Email Emma

We need levity more than ever and I have always believed in bringing humour to fashion. Now, we are using it as a tool to remind women of all ages to check their breasts, especially younger women who may not be aware they need to or skipped mammograms during lockdown.

Stella McCartney

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