Fuel Your Imagination

Cancer Research highlights diverse experiences in new campaign

The charity has shifted its strategy to reflect the fact that many people with cancer are still living their life to the fullest

Jeevan Georgina Hammond

Editorial Assistant Creativebrief


In their latest campaign, Cancer Research UK took the opportunity to highlight the positive impact of their work. While acknowledging that tragedy is an undeniable reality of cancer, the ‘We Are’ campaign shows the positive experiences that those in remission or undergoing treatment can experience as a result of the charity’s research.

Developed with Anomaly, the campaign has content across TV, radio, outdoor, VOD, digital, and social media. Alongside, the public have been invited to participate. The campaign marks the launch of Cancer Research’s rebrand, which is aimed at increasing awareness of their purpose and impact, as well as garnering support.

In the hero video, real people affected by cancer are seen living their lives because of the innovation, research, and treatment of their cancer. We see a couple make it to their wedding day, a mother playing with her children, a patient hearing that their cancer has gone and loved ones embracing.

Jess Kohl, the film’s director, explained: "Everyone we filmed was either in remission from cancer or undergoing treatment, others were supporting those they love. The intention was to visually and emotionally connect the tireless, innovative work that Cancer Research UK is doing with the individuals and families who may not be here if it weren’t for this”.

She continued: “Often when we see cancer represented in adverts, there’s a focus on tragedy - whilst this is an undeniable reality of the disease, there’s also lots of people who are living life to the fullest. We wanted to represent them in this campaign”. With the ‘We Are’ campaign, Cancer Research is able to forefront its achievements and the direct impact that they are having. The video emphasies: 'we made radiotherapy possible, so cancer couldn’t stop his big day' and 'we studied tumour DNA to find better treatments, so she can see her girls grow up'.

Often when we see cancer represented in adverts, there’s a focus on tragedy - whilst this is an undeniable reality of the disease, there’s also lots of people who are living life to the fullest. We wanted to represent them in this campaign.

Jess Kohl, Filmmaker and Photographer, Prettybird

Production company, Prettybird, created the film and EssenceMedia.com bought and planned media. Alongside the film, Cancer Research UK is inviting the public to share images of their special moments, either on the charity’s website photowall or on social media, with #MoreMoments. These images will be gathered into a collection of special moments made possible by research. In an effort to raise more money for the cause, various calls to action are used throughout the campaign, including pledging a regular donation, gifting in a will, or a one-off donation.

Recently, the charity’s annual report showed it to still be the largest charitable funder of research into cancer, in the world. Cancer Research UK wanted to highlight the work they’ve done with ‘We Are’. This includes contributing to the development of radiotherapy, and the discovery of the 11 subtypes of breast cancer, which has allowed for personalised treatment programmes. Philip Almond, Executive Director of Marketing, Fundraising and Engagement at Cancer Research UK noted that “Cancer survival in the UK has doubled in the last 50 years” and that the charity has “been at the heart of that progress”.

The charity has rebranded because of their strategy evolving from looking for a single cure for cancer. Instead they are now  highlighting all the different types of progress being made on the journey to beating cancer. In line with this shift, their strapline has changed from ‘Together we will beat cancer’, to ‘Together we are beating cancer’, transitioning from a future-focused outlook to one that emphasises the right now.

The trajectory of progress Cancer Research UK is making is optimistic, and we want to reflect that.

Joe Corcoran, Executive Creative Director of Anomaly London

Speaking on this tone shift, Joe Corcoran, Executive Creative Director of Anomaly London, said: "We're putting research back at the heart of Cancer Research UK's messaging. They've made so many groundbreaking, jaw-dropping discoveries; this campaign shines a light on their progress and the real life impact and tangible benefits cancer patients consequently experience”.

The ‘We Are’ campaign is a positive emblem of the charity’s work and the very real ways in which they are helping people. As Almond explains: “Refreshing our brand gives us the opportunity to get better cut through in a competitive fundraising environment and demonstrate the human impact of our vital work in an engaging and inspiring way”. By portraying progress, Cancer Research UK offers comfort and positivity in their new campaign. A mindset which is vital when it comes to navigating the sharp realities of Cancer.

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