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The Ideas Lab: Cancer
The Ideas Lab: Cancer

We’ve come a long way from the unmentionable C-word. We’re now very upfront about cancer, from prevention campaigns (typically breast cancer and testicular cancer) to fundraising campaigns by cancer charities.

This selection shows how ideas can take a kaleidoscope of forms – what they have in common is the originality that gets your attention and leaves you changed.

Macmillan Cancer Support: Whatever It Takes

This won the recent Charity Film of the Year Award. When you analyse it, you actually realise there is no real idea here: you could describe it baldly as patients and families being sad and brave, and nurses being heroic ie standard cancer fare. But what elevates it is the truly wondrous execution. It leaves you emotionally floored.

NHS England: Jack in the Box

This is such a smart idea. It plays into very natural (and important) anxieties, and is genuinely persuasive.

Peruvian League Against Cancer: #CaptureCancer

Ideas can be much more than how you put together words and pictures – the biggest ideas can capture the imagination of a whole country, as in this ingenious example.

Swiss Cancer League: Rewritten Recipes

This version of the big idea is a brilliantly clever, insightful and genuinely useful contribution to improve the quality of life for people with cancer.

Breast Cancer Ireland: The Diagnosis

A more traditional advertising idea, with a nicely-done twist.


The Ideas Lab examines what makes effective (or ineffective) communications in the fields of causes, charities and socially-oriented businesses.

Michael Isaacs

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