CAMPAIGNS: Business targets a killer cancer - Public Awareness

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK. Around 34,000 new cases are diagnosed every year, and in Scotland one-in-12 women will develop the disease at some point in their lives, and each year 220 men throughout the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK. Around

34,000 new cases are diagnosed every year, and in Scotland one-in-12

women will develop the disease at some point in their lives, and each

year 220 men throughout the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer.



October is internationally recognised as Breast Cancer Awareness month,

and charities such as the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) use this

period to focus attention on its campaigns and heighten awareness of

breast cancer, while raising funds to fight it.



Following the death of a close friend from breast cancer, Rachel Jones,

partner in the Edinburgh-based Great Circle Communications wanted to do

something useful in the fight against the disease and the consultancy

became involved in the campaign on a pro bono basis.



Objective



As Breast Cancer Awareness month had never had a launch in Scotland

before, the main objective was to raise awareness of the disease through

media coverage and events.



Tactics



The theme for the month was chosen as Thpink! - Think Pink, which has

been used by the Cancer Research Fund for the past two years and

reflects the international pink awareness ribbons. Great Circle decided

to hold a business breakfast as it reasoned that other charity events

tended to be along the lines of expensive balls and targeted those with

money who were already aware of the messages being sent out. It was felt

that the breakfast, at a cost of pounds 15 per head would be more likely

to appeal to a younger audience and would attract more men.



Three speakers were lined up for the breakfast at the Balmoral Hotel in

Edinburgh - Sir Michael Gow, a former GOC (General Officer Commanding),

Belinda Robertson, the cashmere entrepreneur and agony aunt and breast

cancer survivor Sue Frost agreed to speak at the breakfast, which was

the ICRF’s first fund raising event in Scotland.



All the people involved in this campaign donated their services and

products for free: a corporate identity for a fund-raising breakfast

being created by Kirkhill Design Consultants.



Only a week before the beginning of the awareness raising month, it was

decided to print 24,000 credit card-sized information leaflets, funded

by Greenland Interactive. These contained information for men and women

on how to examine their breasts and what signs they should look for in

the early stages of breast cancer. These were distributed by the

Imperial Cancer Research Fund throughout the UK, to a variety of

groups.



A photocall was organised to generate extra coverage, featuring the

Scottish Rugby team decked out in pink rugby shirts.



Results



Prior to the business breakfast, media coverage was secured in many

publications, including the health and business pages of the Herald, the

business pages of the Scotsman, the Edinburgh Evening News among others.

On the day of the event, there was radio and television coverage on

Scottish Television evening news bulletin.



Subsequent coverage has appeared in the Guardian, the Herald and the

local press. The rugby team ’in the pink’ photocall was a big success,

achieving excellent coverage in the Daily Mail, the Herald, the Evening

News, the Edinbugh Herald and Post and local papers in the Scottish

Borders.



The breakfast was attended by 210 people, 60 of whom were men. Although

it was not a major aim of the breakfast, pounds 1,000 was raised for the

Imperial Cancer Research Fund. Following Breast Cancer Awareness month,

the ICRF has also reported a significant increase in both income and in

offers of corporate and individual assistance.



Requests for the information cards have flooded in, including requests

from two blue-chip companies which wished to distribute thousands of the

cards to employees.



Verdict



This campaign was a huge success not only in term of the objective of

raising awareness of breast cancer, but in galvanising support from many

different parties. The message managed to get across to an audience it

wouldn’t normally reach, with the emphasis on the involvement of

men.



Client: Imperial Cancer Research Fund

PR Team: Great Circle Communications and in-house team

Campaign: Breast Cancer Awareness month, Scotland

Timescale: October 1998

Budget: Nil



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