Different takes on the fight against cancer

I think everybody can speak from some form of immediate experience… Cancer is an unfortunate and horrible truth for a large majority of people but when it happens, you have to deal with it.

There are charities which exist to help, but charity advertising is often castigated for loading on the misery, with no light at the end of the tunnel.

So for all of advertisings general detractors, here are four ads in the lauded space of charity which deserve recognition for framing the topic in a totally different way.

DLKW Lowe – Marie Curry

First up – this achingly strong work from DLKW Lowe. I have not been hit by anything as hard recently as when first watching this.

People’s last moments should mean as much as their first. Who wouldn’t agree?

But this is perhaps an outlook often overlooked in such sombre circumstances. That’s understandable.

Well this powerfully hones in on this insight. And makes its mark poignantly. So full of vitality and charm, the scenarios are true to life and reflect the things which mean the most (first kiss, first steps, first shave).

It takes charity ads to a higher level presenting a taboo (death) as something to celebrate and face with dignity and affection.

Moving away from the fact that this is a great cause; with a solemn message, a clear call to action, a new angle of attack, and a subtly devastating delivery… it is just stunningly beautiful.

You know this it is something special when that first piano note lands, but the best thing about it is just so convincing, with performances you rarely see in an ad.

A much more parochial gain is that it’s got a lot of people talking about advertising too.

Just not what you expect. Effective? I certainly gave my pound.

American Cancer Society

American Cancer Society

American Cancer Society

First thing, is this is totally different to the above. But wow for seriously doing something different.

What makes this ad so interesting is its technique. The idea is so brilliant it could be said it’s easy to make this ad look good, but they took it further and made it look amazing.

The tone and feel just scream storytelling – you want to engage in this work whether you see it immediately for what it is (charity work) or not.

We tend to prefer advertising that doesn’t look so much like advertising, and in glorious black and white, this is just that. Non advertising, rich and enigmatic.

Above this, it is the little attention to detail sells this – the Michael Douglas signature to ‘the bucket list’ (mostly attempted).

The primary message is we are fighting this disease. The core message holding stronger is that we can beat it, and that comes through.

Mother – Cancer Research

Another injection of creativity to charity work. Yet far less sensitive.

F*ck sensitivity in fact – this should have eye of the tiger as a voiceover.

The thing which stands out (and will always continue to prevail) is honest insights… if you search and find the truth, an inarguable point that makes the case for the brand, and breathe genuine human relevance into it, people find solace in that.

This is a disease of time. But most would not immediately associate the word ‘fight’ with cancer; the word of choice would probably be struggle.

But when you know that it is a fight, there is a reason to fight back. You just need to know. Well, this ad tells you (eye of the tiger style)

It has a purpose to tell you that and pays tribute to those who want to join in.

As it traces life in such a relevant way, it makes you feel as though this is a community; it is moving and uplifting in equal measures; while striking a careful balance between an elegant sense of humour and serious call to action.

VCCP – Macmillan Cancer Care

‘Do you have any questions?’

This is serious. The beat (as soft as it is) of the music, so mellow and sensitive; you can feel it’s not nice, it demands your attention and takes you with it.

It bursts onto your screen with its loneliness, but it handles itself carefully and is fascinating in its effective, methodical execution.

We’re still not entirely sure if we like the ad but it certainly made us take note and the message is so incredibly true, it deserves to take some risks to make it more memorable.

For this reason you feel it.

This doesn’t preach – it’s too hard hitting, but it builds to find a way to tell you what’s important, and guides you, gently, and decisively onto the core message.

No-one should face cancer alone. You may have some questions if you are not.


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