CAMPAIGNS: Charity PR - Cancer UK to benefit from cup kick-offs

For England's army of armchair football fans, the most eagerly awaited match of this summer's FIFA World Cup takes place on 7 June in Sapporo, Japan, when Sven's boys take on Argentina, England's nemesis from France 1998 and Mexico 1986.

Unfortunately, this long-awaited showdown kicks off on BBC1 at 12.30pm, leaving workers and employers with a dilemma. According to anecdotal evidence, it seems likely that many employees will 'pull a sickie' for the whole day, costing UK business millions of pounds. But, step into the breach Cancer Research UK, which in mid-April, launched a campaign to secure UK workers time off to watch the crucial match at work, while raising funds for its men's cancer research fund.

With one in 14 men likely to develop prostate cancer and around 1,700 new cases of testicular cancer affecting young men each year, Cancer Research UK is urging firms to allow staff extra time to crowd around TVs at work, in return for the donation of an hour's pay.


To drum up £50,000 for research into men's cancers, raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer among both men and women, and discuss the dreaded C-word in a positive light.

Strategy and Plan

With June the charity's designated Men's Cancer Month, Cancer Research UK approached the FA with its World Cup Party idea and won endorsement from five former England managers: Bobby Robson, Graham Taylor, Terry Venables, Kevin Keegan and Glenn Hoddle.

In addition, current coach Sven-Goran Eriksson added his support, saying: 'In urging workers not to take the day off and suggesting firms make every reasonable effort to allow employees to follow the lunchtime match on TV, Cancer Research UK has hit upon an idea where everyone stands to win.'

Cancer Research UK sent press releases explaining the initiative to 50 local radio stations, which set the ball rolling for more widespread regional and national interest in the campaign.

In addition, the charity set up a national hotline and a dedicated area on its website for employers and employees to get more information.

Measurement and Evaluation

Interviews with local fundraisers and Cancer Research UK head of communications Susan Osborne appeared on radio stations ranging from Radio 1, Radio 5 Live, local BBC and commercial stations, plus - perhaps bizarrely - Radio Scotland. This resulted in the campaign being taken up by the likes of Sky, Reuters, Teletext and a Japanese TV company.


The charity expects the campaign to gather pace as the match approaches.

Certainly, as tales of Eriksson's private life abate, the national media seem more likely to come on board and the charity plans further PR pushes around the impending updates on David Beckham's foot.

To date, Cancer Research UK has received more than 500 pledges of support from firms around the country, including British Gas.

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