CAMPAIGN: Lookalikes go on the march for cancer

In May, World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) UK held its fourth annual cancer prevention week to raise awareness that up to 40 per cent of cancers could be averted by a healthy diet, physical acti­vity and weight management.

Campaign: Cancer Prevention Week (21 to 27 May)
Client: World Cancer Research Fund UK
PR Team: In-house, British Summer Fruits and Sputnik Communications
Timescale: February to May 2007
Budget: £3,000

This year’s event focused on the link between cancer and obesity.

To increase the profile of WCRF, get across the cancer prevention message and raise funds around Fruity Friday. To gain trade coverage to attract ­corporate partnerships for future ­activities and support the launch of the charity’s website for four- to seven-year-olds,

Dr Greg Martin issued a release warning of a UK cancer ‘time bomb’ because of rising obesity levels. This encouraged people to commit to lifestyle changes to prevent future health problems.

On a local level, a letter from WCRF’s head of fundraising was sent to regional media, encouraging people to get involved in community events. The charity also cashed in on research from Tesco, showing which areas of the country buy most individual fruits and vegetables. The PR team developed recipes around these statistics, giving dishes catchy local name such as Peterborough’s Purple Passion – a grape-based smoothie – and pitched these to health reporters.

To support fundraising events in schools and offices on Fruity Friday, the charity teamed up with British Summer Fruits. Morning commuters around Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus tube stations were greeted by a David Beckham and Diana Ross lookalike, handing out 4,000 punnets of strawberries.

The cancer time bomb story was covered in 11 national papers. This included the front of the Daily Mail, page leads in The Independent, Daily Express, The Daily Telegraph and mentions in The Sun and The Times. The Daily Star ran a cancer prevention guide.

The campaign gained 259 mentions across local and regional press, and more than ten radio interviews on stations including BBC Norfolk and BBC Teeside.

The great grub club website received local and national coverage with hits peaking at 1,800 over 24 hours on 28 May.

Matt Glass, a freelance journalist with the Daily Star, says the charity was quick to find cancer experts for his paper’s prevention guide. He adds: ‘In terms of building awareness, the charity had obviously put its messages out there, as we noticed quite a few stories in newspapers, magazines and on the internet even before the week started.’

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