Comedian and Prostate Cancer UK ambassador Bill Bailey has kicked off the charity’s “biggest ever” push to drive down the number of men diagnosed with the disease - currently 250,000 men in the UK alone.
The Never Mind the Buzzcocks star, who project managed the campaign, which was unveiled at a press briefing at The Football League headquarters in London, was himself inspired to become an ambassador for the cause after his own father-in-law was diagnosed with the disease.
Now he is working with the charity to encourage men to “man up” and address the issue head on by signing themselves up for tests.
Bailey said: "One in every eight of us will get prostate cancer. It’s a deadly game but the message is, 'we can win this'. Men United is about blokes wising up to their risk, manning up to face it, and stepping up to demand better care. Life isn’t a spectator sport; it’s about getting in there and being part of the solution. Prostate cancer has been the poor relation for far too long. That has to change and Men United is the team to change it. But it needs every one of us, so search Men United and join in.”
The Men United V Prostate Cancer campaign will launch across print, TV and digital channels on Saturday (25 January) and will run until the end of March.
The campaign, described by the charity as “punchy” and “unashamedly” masculine, uses the themes of sport and humour to appeal to men and encourage them to address the issue and go for a check-up.
The 30-second TV ad will debut (trailer above) on ITV1 during the fourth round of the FA Cup, and features Bill Bailey calling for men to go online and search Men United and get involved by testing their knowledge of the disease with a simple quiz, and signing for the team.
Bailey said: “We need men to sign for the team in their thousands. Pubs, clubs, individuals – let’s get everyone on the team. It’s easy – just search Men United online and you’re in! We’re determined to make this as massive for blokes as the breast cancer campaign has been for women."
Prostate Cancer UK chief executive Owen Sharp opened the press conference by saying: “By the time this hour is up and we have finished a man will have died of prostate cancer.”
“…Another is diagnosed every 15 minutes, yet in one year, England spent seven times more money on burning over-prescribed medicines than it did on prostate cancer research. That’s obscene and our men deserve better,” he added.
Speaking to The Drum at the event Prostate Cancer’s director of communications Vivienne Francis said the Men United campaign marks the most integrated marketing activity the charity has ever planned.
“We wanted to avoid just having a TV ad with everything else running around it and have taken what we have learned from previous campaigns such as the 'Sledgehammer Fund' and ensured digital was not treated as a bolt-on, but was integrated from the start."
Other celebrities including Homeland star Damian Lewis, Game of Thrones’ Charles Dance, Sir Michael Parkinson and rugby legend Will Carling, have all already signed up to join Men United.
The charity hopes to see a further 30,000 men sign up for Men United, with plans to then sustain the conversation with them and support them with live chat forums, where they can speak to peers and nurses.
Bill Bailey spoke to The Drum about the campaign at its recent press launch.
To sign for Men United visit prostatecanceruk.org/menunited