'The right match for the young male audience of this campaign'
Victoria Rae from the Institute of Cancer Research says that we shouldn't be coy when it comes to a message that may save lives.
When Rachel Stevens, right, asked men to 'get fruity' in the Everyman male cancer campaign advertisement in June, it certainly got people (both men and women) taking notice.
We believe that this was the right match for the particular young male audience of this specific campaign. We wanted an approach that was playful but with a serious message; something that would get noticed and be remembered. Singer Rachel Stevens, a former member of S Club, was the perfect choice. Yes, she's sexy, she's consistently voted men's dream girl and we knew she would bring her own style to the ad, but we make no apologies for that.
For us, the whole concept of viral marketing (where you send an email linking to a website, and the recipient forwards the email to others) was new and, of course, we carefully weighed up the risks and put responsible web safeguards in place. But when we had reassured ourselves on this, the feeling was not to shy away from doing something a bit different.
Young men can be a notoriously hard group to reach. We always remember that we are not marketing a product — we're giving out messages that could save lives.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men in a core age range of 18—35 and has risen dramatically in the last two decades. The good news is that with improved treatments, it is now curable in 99% of cases if caught early enough. And that's the big 'if' — young men need to know what they are looking for and get checked out as soon as they can. Yet our research has shown that only 19% of men regularly check themselves for signs of testicular cancer, and only 41% would feel comfortable talking to their GP if they were worried.
There is no time for being coy or shy. Whether it's footballers speaking out about keeping an eye on your balls or our Rachel Stevens ad, the important thing is to break down any embarrassment.
The viral email certainly got men and their partners talking about testicular cancer as it spread round friends and colleagues. Of course there will be critics, although in fact we only had two complaints about the ad out of well over two million hits — interestingly, both acknowledged it would probably reach its right target.
We always encourage feedback and respond with respect and courtesy. Among the plentiful positive comments, we also heard from someone who had lost her boyfriend to testicular cancer who felt sure he would have taken notice of Rachel's ad.
At the end of the day, in this particular campaign, this is what it is about. Whether it's a Haynes-style men's health manual or an invitation from Rachel Stevens, a health message needs to be read, watched and remembered — and it might just save some lives in the process.
In those terms, the argument's not so hard, is it?
Victoria Rae is a member of the Communications Team at the Institute of Cancer Research's Everyman Campaign. You can see the Rachel Stevens ad at: www.rachelgetsfruity.com
Page created on January 2nd, 2006
Page updated on January 12th, 2010