Cancer Research UK launches documentary epic in debut campaign from Anomaly

We haven’t always been kind about charities and charity advertising – in particular the guilt-inducing ‘text £3 now (and be pestered for the rest of your life)’ staple of daytime television. My media agency friends tell me this stuff works but even so..

Cancer Research UK is a big charity with a big budget even though it gets no money from the Government. It’s hired Anomaly as its new brand agency and the agency’s new campaign “Right Now’ attempts to show the day to day reality of cancer by focussing on actual cancer patients and medics. Made by The Garden which produced the award-winning ’24 hours in A&E’ for Channel 4.

The launch 60-secomnd commercial breaks in Emmerdale on Christmas Eve and tells a number of stories (below).

Then there are three 30s highlighting individual stories (below) plus outdoor, digital. social, cinema and radio so a big campaign.

Cancer Research UK director of brand, marketing and communications Anthony Newman says: “To go into hospitals and film with real patients, doctors and researchers is an innovative and brave approach but one we knew from the start was just right. It’s essential that we inspire the public to understand that the future is being shaped by actions that can be taken right now, and that they have the power to make a difference.

“We’ve captured a great sense of immediacy by sharing the stories of real people going through cancer, the amazing staff treating them and the fantastic scientists working to beat this devastating disease. Anomaly have created a campaign that truly gives an insight into those being affected right now and the ways people deal with cancer.”

Anomaly partner and creative director Oli Beale says: “A single script with actors in it seemed wrong to us from the start. We wondered if it was possible to make a series of adverts that felt more like the incredible story-telling in ’24 Hours in A&E’. It turns out that it is – by getting the creators of 24 Hours in A&E to make them and getting out of the way as much as possible.

“It’s been a revolutionary way of working for us. It was a group-hug of trust between Anomaly, The Garden, Cancer Research UK, the patients, the scientists, the medical staff and the hospitals. The result is a vast number of adverts that feel nothing like adverts. I hope they go some way to conveying to the public that cancer is happening right now and there is something we can all do right now to help.”

It is, indeed, a praiseworthy effort to tell a balanced story about cancer and we should applaud that.

Anomaly prides itself on being different and, in this instance, a different approach seems to have worked. The proof, presumably, will be in the donations received.

MAA creative scale: 8.

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