Cancer campaign is getting its message across by targetting men

Prostate cancer still

Alison Day, communication director at Prostate Cancer UK, tells TFN about the success of her charity's latest campaign 

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3rd May 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Television programmes typically watched by men over the age of 45 are being peppered with the latest advert by the charity Prostate Cancer UK.

Premiered during Sky Sports News’ Gillette Soccer Saturday the advert is being placed in the breaks of programmes such as football games shown on Sky Sports and programmes on channels ITV 3, Five, Sky Atlantic, Quest, and Sky One.

The advert (below) features Downton Abbey actor Jeremy Smith playing a dad being sent to his room by his son and told to grow up after being unwilling to talk about the disease.

It’s a role reversal on the facts-of-life chat that many awkward dads will have had with their equally awkward sons, and calls on men to visit Prostate Cancer UK’s Men United microsite.

It’s early days and we’ve got plenty of surprises up our sleeves in what’s a long campaign but first signs show men responding well

Alison Day, the charity’s communications director, says early signs are the plan is working with the charity's research showing over 95% of its target auidence would definitely go to the charity's website as a direct result of watching the advert and that they clearly knew it was an ad for Prostate Cancer UK.”

“We grabbed ad space in every Super Sunday football match – but also ran across other channels,” she said.

“The ad is going out over five weeks, with a focus on big male-audience channels as only men get prostate cancer.

“It’s early days and we’ve got plenty of surprises up our sleeves in what’s a long campaign but first signs show men responding well.

“The facts-of-life chat came out as something that men totally got, either having had the chat with their son or remembering the awkwardness of the sex chat with their own dad.

“The twist of the role reversal added intrigue and the shock of the fact they were talking about prostate cancer provided significant impact."

One man every hour in the UK dies of prostate cancer and the aim of the campaign is to counter what the charity calls the national ignorance and neglect of the disease.

The advert follows on from the charity’s in-house PR team claiming headlines in newspapers across the country with evidence from a 3,500-head survey revealing that a staggering 92% of men don’t know what the prostate does, over half don’t know where it is, and 17% don’t even know they have one. 

Charity ambassadors, including Sir Michael Parkinson, who has had prostate cancer himself, lent his weight to the campaign, helping the story gain traction.

“The media got the message that with prostate cancer set to become the most common UK cancer overall by 2030,” Day continued.

“Having backing from Sir Michael, Les Ferdinand and Chris Cusiter helped us get that story out across the four nations where it needed to be.”