Client: Institute of Cancer Research
PR Team: In-house and David Leck Associates
Campaign: Male Cancer Awareness Month
Timescale: January - July 1999
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
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.