CAMPAIGNS: HEALTHCARE PR - PR sheds light on male health risks

Client: Institute of Cancer Research

Client: Institute of Cancer Research

PR Team: In-house and David Leck Associates

Campaign: Male Cancer Awareness Month

Timescale: January - July 1999

Budget: Undisclosed

Male cancer receives little publicity and funding compared with female

cancers, such as breast cancer. Yet someone dies from prostate cancer

every 45 minutes in the UK, and it is predicted the disease will

overtake breast and lung cancer to become the biggest cancer killer in

the next 20 years. The incidence of testicular cancer is doubling every

20 years, but there are no clear indications why.

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) launched the Everyman campaign in

September 1997 to increase awareness of prostate and testicular cancer

and raise pounds 6 million towards the establishment of Britain’s first

dedicated male cancer research centre. This year saw the second Male

Cancer Awareness Month.


To continue to raise awareness of both diseases, with particular focus

on testicular cancer, which affects young men.

Strategy and Plan

Male Cancer Awareness Month was launched at a press conference at the

ICR on 3 June. The findings of a MORI opinion poll on male attitudes to,

and awareness of, male cancer were released showing the need for more

widely available information and a supportive environment for men.

The press conference was also used to unveil two press ads donated by

agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty - one showing a pair of female breasts with

the legend ’No wonder male cancer is ignored, these are all you ever

think about’.

At the same time, the Everyman ’perkin’ - the name the ICR gave to the

small rubber symbol intended to help raise awareness of male cancers -

was introduced for sale in WH Smith and House of Fraser stores.

To support the stories about the MORI poll, press ads and perkin, a

range of case studies was made available to the media highlighting men

who had recovered from cancer.

To further increase awareness and address the serious lack of funding

for research, 16 June was declared Everyman Parliamentary Awareness


Thirty MPs supported the campaign by posing with a 10-foot perkin

outside the Houses of Parliament. Later, an all-party group convened to

discuss male cancer issues. Some 169 MPs signed an early day motion in

support of the day.

Other promotional activities included a web site and an information


Momentum for the Everyman campaign was sustained in July with the

release of a TV commercial featuring pop star Robbie Williams sporting a

pair of false breasts and encouraging young men to examine their


PR activity was designed to gain maximum publicity for the commercial,

which was also donated by Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Robbie Williams, too,

gave his time free of charge.

Measurement and Evaluation

Coverage is still coming in and no formal measurement has yet been

undertaken, but the ICR will be evaluating the campaign.

Media coverage has, however, been extensive, particularly of the press

and TV ads. Broadcast coverage of the launch included ITV Lunchtime News

and BBC Breakfast News, while the Times, Daily Mail, Telegraph,

Independent and Express all ran news items. The Mirror and Express were

among the papers to include case studies within features.


The different elements of this campaign ensured that male cancer was put

in the spotlight. The MORI opinion poll, perkin and case studies

attracted media attention in their own right, but it was the ads that

really caught the media’s imagination. These were intended to be

controversial and were planned with the intention of generating

editorial coverage as well. The Everyman campaign is ongoing, but these

latest activities should have done much to increase awareness.

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