Cancer Research U.K. PSA

By Ryan Rothman

Cancer affects millions of people every year, and many of those people might miss the first signs, including lumps on their bodies. The nonprofit organization Cancer Research U.K. understood that problem existed for many Brits and recognized that they needed to find a way to communicate the idea in a creative and unexpected way to get people’s attention.

Since cancer affects so many people, or people that others know, Cancer Research U.K. needed to reach the largest audience possible – the public. Drilling down to a smaller target audience, this stunt could be targeted at people who live busy lives and don’t leave time in their day to dedicate to their personal health.

In a partnership with AMV BBDO London, Cancer Research U.K. created a large “road lump” to match the color of the paving bricks on the street, and recorded the reactions—or lack thereof—of people passing by. The stunt adds value through uniqueness and public interest and illustrates a simple message: if people can walk past a giant lump in the middle of the street without noticing, no wonder people ignore small lumps in their bodies.

The stunt took place in a busy urban environment and used guerilla marketing (lump itself) and paid tactics (creation and distribution of video) to deliver its message. There are benefits to using both the guerilla tactic and the video – the lump reached anyone that happened to walk past it the day of filming and could have attracted the attention of bystanders and the video PSA can be used in a variety of paid situations including TV, online and pre-roll, among others.

The stunt and subsequent video aligned directly with Cancer Research U.K.’s brand purpose, as it helped bring attention to the first signs of cancer that may go unnoticed. Since people often ignore out-of-home advertising anyway, it was a perfect opportunity to show people missing yet another piece of advertising. So while it’s laughable watching people miss the lump in the video, the lump is something Cancer Research U.K. knows that people won’t want to miss in real life.

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