Prostate Cancer UK and VCCP launch campaign to boost early diagnosis

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1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer, and for Black men their risk is double. But the earlier you find prostate cancer, the easier it is to treat, and an earlier diagnosis could save your life. That’s the vital message at the heart of a new integrated campaign launching this weekend from Prostate Cancer UK and VCCP London, with a call for thousands more men across the country to check their risk online.

The creative platform, ‘A future full of good things’, focuses on the future – the life full of really good things that lies ahead for men (and those who love them) if they check their risk and find out what they can choose to do about it, and forms part of Prostate Cancer UK’s wider campaign ‘‘Find it Earlier’.

This breaks the mould of traditional cancer awareness campaigns, which have focused on the negatives of not knowing your risk and all the scary things that can happen when you don’t, in order to capture men’s imagination and hope for the future they want to be around to see. This strategy allows for a humorous take, which runs through the campaign, to open up the conversation and lighten a serious issue for many.

Two films lead the campaign ‘Layla’ and ‘BBQ’. In each film we see a glimpse of what is still to come in each man’s future – in ‘Layla’ a man meets his granddaughter-to-be who promises him the chance to get to know her if he looks after himself, and ‘BBQ’ shows that the dream grill and a future of summer family BBQs awaits a man on his 60th birthday.

Both films also work to break down barriers that historically stopped men from checking their risk of prostate cancer. ‘Layla’ and ‘BBQ’ both openly challenge the worry for many men that a test for prostate cancer must mean a finger up the bum. In fact, the best test for prostate cancer is a simple blood test you can get free from your GP and Prostate Cancer UK say you don’t need a finger up the bum to check for prostate cancer.

For both films, VCCP’s global content creation studio Girl&Bear worked with multi-award-winning director Gary Freedman and MJZ. Gary is best known for introducing Queen Elizabeth II and Paddington and for introducing O2’s mascot Bubl with VCCP – he was chosen especially to bring to life the barbeque and the talking baby, which was achieved through advances in AI.

The films also feature the voice talent of Ralph Ineson as the barbeque, BAFTA-winning Top Boy star Jasmine Jobson as Layla and Hugh Dennis as the brand voice.

The campaign will run across the UK – with TV, social and PR working to reach men at risk throughout the country. Dedicated activity such as radio advertising will also target men in specific nations and regions, especially Scotland, the Midlands, the North West, Wales and the South West, areas which have higher rates of late-stage diagnosis. Tailored social advertising and PR will reach those most affected by health inequalities, beginning with Black men.

John Dickinson-Lilley, Director of Communications at Prostate Cancer UK, said:

“We’re delighted that this campaign takes a fresh approach to raising awareness of the most common cancer in men, prostate cancer. We’re focusing on all the positives in a future where men with prostate cancer get an earlier diagnosis, and what that means for them and their loved ones. A talking BBQ and a grandchild from the future might not be what you expect from a charity raising awareness of cancer risk, but we’re driven to grab men’s attention across the UK with this vital message, and we’re starting at one of the biggest events in the summer of sport with a spot in the FA Cup Final.

“We want all men at risk, so that’s men over 50, Black men and men with a family history of prostate cancer, to take just 30 seconds to check their risk online with Prostate Cancer UK’s Risk Checker. It’ll tell you if you’re at higher risk, and let you know what you can choose to do about it. With finding prostate cancer, earlier is always better, so it’s about time you checked your risk.”

Jim Thornton, Executive Creative Director at VCCP London, said: “

As that wise young owl Darren Bailes (our CCO) once observed; ‘we spend the first half of our lives trying to kill ourselves and the second half desperately trying to stay alive’. This beautiful, and beautifully realised, idea neatly brings to life exactly why those of us of a certain age are so desperate to stay alive – the promise of grandchildren, fabulous bbqs, more Stoke games, and all the other wonderful things later life has to offer. And it deftly hammers home the message to all the men in our lives that it REALLY is about time they checked their risk of prostate cancer.”

The campaign launches on 25th May with the film airing during the FA Cup Final and will run across TV, BVOD, Linear Radio, Digital Audio and Social until 30th June, with another top TV spot in the opening game of Euro 2024 between Scotland and Germany on 15th June. The campaign runs throughout Men’s Health Week and on Father’s Day, with Prostate Cancer UK working to drive a national conversation about the most common cancer in men at these key calendar moments. Media planning and buying is led by the7stars.

VCCP London were appointed to work with Prostate Cancer UK on a project basis following a competitive pitch process. In addition to this campaign VCCP London have been working on a new brand platform for Prostate Cancer UK to help drive organisational growth and brand trust The brand platform ‘It’s About Time’ has been incorporated into this risk awareness campaign.

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