Cancer Research UK has unveiled the next stage of its "unfiltered" documentary-style 'Right Now' campaign, as it looks to balance to the need to drive donations with films that show it is making progress.
The next phase of the hard-hitting series use a 'then and now' format to revisit real patients from the previous 2015 and 2016 iterations, showing how they have progressed since they started undergoing treatment for their cancer via footage of them enjoying their lives right now.
The launch ad tells the powerful story of Nicola, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. The 30-second video revisits her first chemotherapy session two years ago, before showing her in the present day, sharing everyday moments with her husband Richard and celebrating her 60th birthday.
While the charity found a new director of brand, marketing and innovation in the form of Jo Cooke earlier this year, who absorbed some of the duties previously held by longstanding chief marketing officer Anthony Newman when he departed earlier, it has decided to stick with a tried-and-tested formula, rather than launch a new platform.
"We have shifted [the original campaign] in a really positive way," Cooke told The Drum. "Whereas previously it was about shining a light on individuals' cancer stories, what we've done is evolve that to show the real role of research, that there is hope and that we're making progress."
She added: "However, it is important that people see that the job is not done," noting that while two in four people currently survive a cancer diagnosis for at least 10 years, Cancer Research UK wants to make this three in four by 2034.
"We can only keep up the pace of our life-saving research with the public’s help. We want our campaign to show them how far research has come, but understand we must go further and by supporting us now, they can make a difference in bringing forward the day when all cancers are cured.”
It's not just audiences the ads resonate with Cooke saying that the charity's patient sounding boards "have a sense of pride" in the fact that these stories are being aired.
The new spots were created by Anomaly and The Garden Productions, with media planned and bought by Mediacom.
The original campaign, has been widely lauded for giving unparalleled access into the complex world of cancer; showing the disease through the lens of patients like five-year-old Adyan, their loved ones, medical staff and researchers from moments of diagnosis through to treatment and test results.
From 1 January, the most recent ads will be seen across outdoor, digital and social media.
Digital will share a broader mix of moments, including those from the television ads, with Cooke saying that the medium affords CRUK the opportunity to break down cancer stories in more nuanced ways and interact with donors.
When former marketing head Newman departed last year he hinted that as a marketer it was, at times, a challenge to make the business case for charities to take risks and innovate.
With innovation now part of Cooke's remit, she acknowledged that in order to cut through the noise in a world where audiences are desensitised to certain imagery, over the next few years there will be a greater focus on this kind of transformation within the charity's walls.
"We're always looking at new and better ways to talk to our supporters to talk to them about the work they've done and to show them how they have made a difference," she said.
"Innovation is a really big part of that, whether it's something as small as being able to have a contactless payment system for donations, or looking at different ways to drive people's excitement to sign up for some of our events."