Cancer campaign – new, inovative and perhaps controversial


What do you think of this?



Breast Cancer Care (BCC) is one of the charities whom I support as much as I can.  But sadly, not many people know of its existence.

This could be about to change, thanks to a ‘new’ style of advert thought up between advertising agency M&C Saatchi and  The Mill, to launch an innovative advertising campaign to ‘support the woman behind the breast cancer’.

As a survivor, I am grateful to Estée Lauder and her company’s ground-breaking support for us with their pink ribbons;  but recently these ribbons were pinned on to a great many campaigns that just seemed to be riding on the emotive appeal.

Now, using a very beautiful woman who has obviously had breast cancer, and adding the thousands of pills we have to take – which have given so many of us unthought of problems, whilst helping keep us alive – this video uses them all very effectively, to get across that we cancer patients are also human beings.

Breast Cancer Care knows we need better care

Research by BCC confirms the wide-ranging, long-lasting effects of breast cancer on women’s physical and emotional wellbeing.  This past couple of years David Cameron and Andrew Lansley have totally lost any support I gave to the Conservative Party in the past;  each time they gave a speech, both of them trotted out the cliché that Britain’s cancer care was way behind that offered to Europeans (cue for sob story) but NEITHER uttered one sentence showing the many ways we could copy this treatment at little or no cost.  They were climbing on the bandwagon that says “cancer is vote catching’, without offering one practical solution.

But BCC carred out a survey, and found that after treatment:

  • 92%  of women said they needed information and advice beyond that offered by their hospital consultant
  • up to five years after treatment, almost half (45%) said they still thought about their breast cancer every day
  •  63% said their breast cancer still negatively impacts their sex life.

The new advert raises awareness that when breast cancer overshadows everything, Breast Cancer Care is dedicated to providing round-the-clock emotional and practical support to the person behind the disease – from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.

More than 48,000 people are newly diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK, and as incidence increases and statutory provision becomes more pressured, the services Breast Cancer Care offers are more urgently needed than ever.

M&C Saatchi has worked with Breast Cancer Care on a pro-bono basis to develop this impactful creative, and this photo shows a still from the campaign.

Where can you see this?

The advert will feature throughout the UK on Clear Channel billboards and outdoor advertising poster sites.  Look out for them a bus stops, where Clear Channel provide a lot of the advertising panels that feature on these.

Together with M&C Saatchi, The Mill, creators of award-winning video projects, have produced a video featuring a woman emerging from a veil of medication, bringing to life the concept.  A pro-bono Facebook advertising campaign with Sponsored Stories is being coordinated by BLiNQ Media to reach thousands of users at

What it’s like

To bring to life the issues faced by those with a breast cancer diagnosis, Breast Cancer Care has recruited guest bloggers to talk about their own experiences on the campaign area of the charity’s website:

Erin, 32, from Milton Keynes, speaks for many of us when she says:  “Of course it’s important to have medical treatment for breast cancer and I expected side effects, but I definitely underestimated the impact having breast cancer would have on all aspects of my life.  I had children to look after;  I lost my confidence and my hair and wasn’t able to work any more.

“My medical team were great but they were busy and I didn’t want to bother them with my questions.  When I heard about Breast Cancer Care it was comforting knowing there was help available …… I rang the helpline with my questions and they patiently answered them.  I think every woman should know that Breast Cancer Care is there to support them every step of the way.”

I totally agree with Erin;  at hospital the over-worked staff constantly said ‘phone a helpline’.  But having worked on many fund-raising events for the charities that offer these services, my feeling was, “I raised money to help others, not myself”.  But eventually I did phone – and what an incredible amount of helpful information is provided by the helpline nurses!

Samia al Qadhi Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Care said:  “We are delighted to have the support of M&C Saatchi, and all our partners, in creating an innovative advertising campaign that reaches out to the woman behind every breast cancer diagnosis.  We know from supporting thousands of women that it can be all too easy to forget that the treatment of breast cancer isn’t just about a woman’s physical health”.

“ in 2010 alone we had 3 million requests for support.  And we know how to support the women behind the breast cancer because they’re involved in everything we do: contributing to our publications, participating in our campaigns and helping to raise money for our work.  Two-thirds (66%) of women who have received a breast cancer diagnosis feel that their friends and family have moved on after a year and they need our support.   Breast Cancer Care’s website, online forums, Helpline, publications and information sessions are all there to help them.”

So this campaign is a very thoughtful way of emphasing our pill-laden life, and how we have to depend on so much that is pumped into our bodies, which are poisons to a greater or lesser degree.  I keep on replaying the video – and hope you like it as much as I do.      0808 800 6000.

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