Real Cancer Patients Star in Unscripted Ads Highlighting U.K. Charity's Work

Docu-Style Campaign for Cancer Research U.K. Is First Work From Anomaly

Published On
Dec 17, 2015

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Cancer Research U.K. is launching a documentary-style campaign, featuring real patients and totally unscripted, to show the reality of day-to-day life of cancer patients. Creative agency Anomaly, in its first work for the U.K.'s biggest cancer charity since it won the account earlier this year, enlisted documentary production company The Garden, which makes the gritty, acclaimed Channel 4 TV series "24 Hours in A&E," to make the films. They will includes moments of diagnosis, treatment and test results, and while some are more uplifting, others show quite graphically what life is like for someone with cancer.

Cameras were granted access to four hospitals -- Leeds Cancer Centre, Southampton General Hospital, St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London and Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute -- to capture the patients' stories. The final films are directed by documentary filmmaker Henry Singer, who himself previously has been diagnosed with cancer and was treated at St. Bartholomew's Hospital.

The campaign, taglined "Cancer Is Happening Right Now," will run for five and a half weeks. The first sixty-second ad, seen here, breaks on Christmas Eve and features several different patients, including children and older people, while 30-second follow-up spots will concentrate on individual cases. The first of these include Catherine receiving the news that she doesn't have cancer, a baby called Alfie having a bath while receiving a blood transfusion and a teenager, Megan, receiving radiotherapy.

Outdoor creative will feature photography by Adam Hinton, a photojournalist who worked on Sport England's "This Girl Can' campaign." Captured in Leeds Cancer Centre, the photos show everyday moments of those going through treatment.