CAMPAIGN: Macmillan sheds light on cancer hardships

Macmillan Cancer Supports 'Better Deal' campaign was launched in 2004 to raise awareness of the fact that more than three quarters of cancer patients face financial hardship after being diagĀ­nosed with cancer.

Campaign Hitting Home/Better Deal
Client Macmillan Cancer Support
PR Team In-house
Timescale December 2006
Budget Less than £2,000

In December 2006, the charity ­unveiled a fresh push for the campaign, badged ‘Hitting Home’.

The charity commissioned research which found that one in 17 people lose their home and one in six people fail to keep up with regular mortgage or rental payments after being diagnosed with cancer. The findings hit the headlines when released.

Objectives
To highlight the fact that so many people diagnosed with cancer struggle financially. To raise awareness of the help available to those diagnosed with cancer, and to encourage those affected to call Macmillan’s free phone line – 0800 500 800 – for help and advice. To maintain pressure on the Government to provide special benefits and advice, and to encourage people to take action by contacting their local MPs.

Strategy and plan
Press releases highlighting the charity’s new research were sent to regional and national media, targeting sector press including mortgage specialists, local housing authorities, personal finance and health and medical.

Additionally, Macmillan spokespeople were briefed and made ­available for inter­views. Case studies – inc­luding those of a family threat­ened with ­repossession by their mortgage lender and a family forced to sell their home and move into rented accommodation – were provided.

‘It was a challenge to find case studies and ask them to speak about their personal circumstances – many would not want to speak about the fact that they couldn’t make their mortgage payments,’ says Macmillan Cancer Support senior media & PR officer Nicola Ryan. The charity planned six months ahead to ­ens­ure they had time to find the perfect case studies, she adds.

Measurement and evaluation
The Hitting Home campaign generated more than 215 press mentions, including in The Observer and The Scotsman, and on national TV and radio, including BBC Breakfast and BBC Five Live.

Results
There were 2,875 calls to the campaign line during the two months after launch (December 2006 to January 2007), compared with 1,715 during the same period a year before. More than 2,000 people contacted their MP or local newspaper in an attempt to take action

The Western Mail put the story on the front page. Health editor Madeleine Brindley says it ‘captured the imagination’ because ‘it’s an aspect of cancer you just don’t think about’.

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