Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest research charity, commissioned Bert to create the brand identity for a campaign aimed at accelerating the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer globally. The campaign raises awareness and funds for a new £150m building in Manchester, which will become one of the world’s top-five cancer research centres.
Messaging + Strategy
Film + Motion
Through immersion, site visits and creative exploration we learned how the research centre would allow for the acceleration of treatment, positively impacting upon the lives of millions cancer patients worldwide. Our CoCreation process helped engage and creatively align the three key campaign partners, Cancer Research UK, The Christie NHS and The University of Manchester. We built the brand together, using our collective experience, expertise and patient and partner insights to create everything from the name through to the campaign collateral.
We reframed cancer, helping replace fear with the knowledge that a future free of cancer is achievable within decades - if we work together. Our narrative and visual identity encourage people to walk towards the issue and tackle it through hands-on intervention and collaboration. Re-write Cancer was born and through close adoption from the exceptional fundraising team reached 25% of its fundraising goal within weeks of launch.
To create positive change we wanted audiences to roll-up their sleeves and involved. The narrative was created, tested and then enhanced by printing the word 'cancer' over and over again, providing Sharpies, and getting audiences to literally re-write cancer. Through this process we saw cancer’s meaning changed, adapted, finished early and crossed-out. This simple idea became central to the narrative and tone of voice. We continued to apply this informality to the brand and create a story of reinvention and renewal.
The visual identity centres on the positive intervention made by individuals and collaborators in the fight against cancer. Bright bursts of hand-drawn colour over familiar health sector hues encourage audiences to get hands-on and create the change. The palette also represents the three key partners equally whilst helping form a new, unique identity.
An aim to transform complex messaging into simple, engaging communications helped shape channel choice and content.
We created animated shorts to explain the impact everyday individuals could have in re-writing the future of cancer. The shorts aired on social channels and became part of a targeted campaign.
The campaign has been extended to include direct marketing, targeted communications to funders and high-net-worth individuals, digital, social and outdoor advertising.
Our art direction and creative guidance also encouraged teams within the partner organisations imagine new ways to help audiences re-write cancer. This led to imaginative executions such as an engraved bench dedicated to legendary DJ Mark Radcliffe. Rather than carrying a traditional ‘in memoriam’ message, Mark’s bench reads: “Mark Radcliffe loved sitting here… and still does thanks to advances in cancer research.” This positive reframing underpins all campaign creative, which also includes giant hoardings, pledge walls, fundraising packs and interactive direct marketing.
Over 25% of the fundraising goal was reached within the campaign’s first few weeks and work towards realising the vision for one of the globe’s most ambitious projects in the fight against cancer continues to gather momentum.