Cancer Research UK merges emotional and practical messaging to drive donations

The cancer charity is hoping to get across the message that people who donate are part of “this very big fight against cancer”.

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) is looking to make a “clearer connection” between the stories of people going through treatment and how donations can make a difference, showing how both are part of the “big fight against cancer”.

The ‘Right Now’ campaign, created by Anomaly and The Garden Productions, has the same documentary style as its previous ads; showing unscripted moments and real people’s stories from the moment of diagnosis through to treatment.

The aim of the new campaign will be to show how research is making progress in the fight against cancer, enabling the development of new and better treatments that are helping more people survive cancer than ever before.

The TV adverts, which air from 5 January, use a ‘then and now’ format to highlight the positive impact research is having on peoples’ lives today. Each ad revisits a different individual, contrasting scenes from that person’s appearance in the previous campaign when they were undergoing treatment for their cancer, with moments of them enjoying their lives now.

Alongside the TV spots there will be outdoor, digital and social media activity. The outdoor creative will use short impactful statements about the progress being made while digital will share a broader mix of moments, including those from the television adverts. The social media strategy will focus on exploring the stories of those featuring in the campaign at a deeper level across multiple channels.

READ MORE: How Cancer Research UK is bringing together direct response and brand marketing

While previous CRUK campaigns have focused on the emotional stories of people going through cancer treatment, the charity now wants to include a clearer call to action by focusing on the importance of the public funding research.

“There’s a clearer thread to it and the understanding that if you donate you are part of this very big fight against cancer. It’s that duality of the emotional and the practical – ‘if you take action right now, you can make a difference’. There is more of a connection between the two,” Jo Cooke, director of brand, marketing and innovation at CRUK tells Marketing Week.

“By putting research at the heart of the story, you get a sense of the difference that CRUK can make, and we also want to show people what their two pounds can help achieve. We want three in four people with cancer to survive by 2034.”

The documentary style ads have been running since December 2015, and have proven successful for the charity. While Cooke would not share specific metrics, she says it has “resonated really well” with the public due to the positive messaging.

“We have very helpful patient panels, so that we get the balance right between realness and authenticity. What we’ve had excellent feedback on, is the fact that there’s hope being shown. That’s why we do what we do and the reality of why it has resonated with people,” she concludes.

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