For the moments, the motivations and for everyone living with cancer

Since its launch in 2015, Brave the Shave has raised over £22.7 million for Macmillan Cancer Support. In 2018, as part of a three-year strategy that was extended for a fourth year due to its success, we were tasked with taking what was already a successful ask and creating a fresh and engaging new ATL campaign to spread the word even further.

The previous two creative campaigns before we started working with Macmillan, although successful, had proved quite controversial due to the art direction and tone of voice used. The photography was shot in a studio and the overall tone was overly playful and jovial. We, therefore, when looking at the creative concept, needed to be careful not to dilute what made Brave the Shave so inspiring and engaging for its thousands of participants, but also be aware of the sensitivities that surround losing your hair and cancer.

The creative campaign

With the brief in mind, straight away for the campaign we wanted the imagery to represent authentic shave events, communicating the personal and individual, emotionally-charged nature of each person’s shave. Our new photography look-and-feel was genuine, relaxed and uplifting; we captured real people’s shave events in their personal environments, whether that was in their own homes or at work. 

This new, authentic art direction was then the perfect base for the campaign which we have developed each year to keep it feeling fresh and new. The campaign spanned across print to digital, TV to radio, billboards to bus stops, always heroing the incredible people that take part.

In 2018 the campaign was all about championing the motivations of why people Brave the Shave. This was brought together through the creative copy line, ‘This is for’, which was a way to voice shavers’ dedications; from highly personal reasons such as ‘this is for my sister’, to universal reasons such as ‘this is for everyone living with cancer’.

For 2019, we developed the campaign based on audience insights. A survey was carried out that brought to light that another key motivation for people to take part in brave the shave was the fame factor, and how shaving their hair would attract attention. Therefore, we focused the campaign on the brave shavers themselves and what it is about them that makes them undertake such a unique ask. We directly addressed the potential shavers through uplifting call-to-action messaging, asking the audience to be someone extraordinary; someone that goes the extra mile; someone that braves the shave.

Hatched have developed a powerful creative proposition that heroes our shavers in an authentic, inspirational and sensitive way. Their collaborative approach to the project made them a fab agency to work with and we look forward to seeing how we can build on the proposition together in the future.

Rachel Murphy, Senior Maketing Manager

For 2020 and 2021, the campaign was refreshed to appeal across the motivation spectrum, whether someone was taking part as they wanted to do something different for themselves or if they were doing it for a close family member – be someone for someone. As the campaign took place in such unpredictable and unknown times which were tough for both charities and cancer treatment, we developed the campaign in response to this. So whilst the imagery focuses on the person braving the shave and the event itself – even if it was over zoom, the message focusses fully on inspirational cause messaging with a specific focus on how Macmillan's help will be in demand more than ever before.

Radio script:

Be someone fearless

Be someone that goes the extra mile

Be someone that helps to change lives. 

This summer be someone that braves the shave for Macmillan Cancer Support. Whether it’s for someone that means the world to you, for someone you’ll never forget, or for everyone facing cancer, get sponsored to shave your hair and you’ll help Macmillan be right there for everyone living with cancer. 

Be someone extraordinary. 

Sign up today at

Connecting with future brave shavers

Macmillan’s research indicated that the majority of Brave the Shave sign-ups were now directed from digital and social advertising, with Facebook non-static being particularly effective.

In order to reach out and connect with potential brave shavers, we created a suite of ads ranging from those targeted at people cold to the cause, to those shown to people who had started their registration. Adverts shown across Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat ranged from engaging animated clippers moving across the screen to reveal copy, to carousels and montage videos revealing shavers' stories.

Across every element, we aimed to inspire, uplift and motivate, and where possible, we used animated messaging to create movement and intrigue.

Making the journey one to remember

Welcome Pack

For our welcome pack refresh, we wanted to bring excitement and joy to brave shavers’ journeys. The new pack led with illustration and used Macmillan’s distinctive bright and bold colours and large typography to create a pack that is simple, fun and engaging – all with universal appeal.

Thanking Pack

After people had braved the shave, we wanted to give them something that would both express Macmillan’s huge gratitude as well as something to keep forever. Therefore, our thank you pack includes a handwritten message from someone living with cancer – such as Hannah, who is living with leukaemia and has been helped by Macmillan – as well as a personalised certificate and even a small enamel badge that can be worn for years to come.


Over the years, we have continually created a campaign that celebrates the amazing people that put their locks on the line to raise money for an incredible cause.

Using authentic photography and bold, colourful illustrations across multiple touch points, we have given the ask a presence that is both uplifting and engaging whilst staying true to the highly personal and often poignant reasons people choose to Brave the Shave. This has been integral in maintaining the excitement of the ask as well as creating an output sympathetic to sufferers, connecting purpose to the fundraising activity and the motive behind taking part. 

Whilst 2020 was a year like no other year, with many charities struggling with donations, Brave the Shaves average gift exceeded expectations and has reached a level that had not been seen in the history of Brave the Shave. At £735, the average gift was around 20% higher than target.

If you’d like to Brave the Shave, we would wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. Go on!

In our second year working with Hatched they have risen to the challenge of evolving our proposition to support an inspiring, insight-driven campaign that really celebrates our shavers by focusing on their moments and motivations for taking part in a very real and sensitive way. Our improved results YOY are a testament to their hard work in building on last year’s proposition. Thank you Hatched :)

Rachel Murphy, Senior Marketing Manager


Macmillan – Brave the Shave campaigns

We've worked closely with Macmillan since 2018 on repositioning and driving the success of one of their most successful fundraising events – Brave The Shave.

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