Macmillan introduces ‘compassionate warriors’ as cancer screenings fall behind

The first work for the charity from AMV BBDO showcases staff's tough and tenacious side.

Macmillan Cancer Support has launched an emotional appeal for support as tens of thousands of people are missing cancer diagnoses because of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new campaign, the first brand work for the charity by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, positions Macmillan staff as “compassionate warriors” who play a crucial role in the fight to secure and deliver care to people with cancer. 

Set to Max Richter’s Spring 1, the ad features a series of scenes showing Macmillan staff members lending a hand during key moments of cancer patients’ journeys. Whether by helping a crying girl understand her dad’s new scar or making an elderly man laugh in his bed, the health workers demonstrate tenderness, humour and grit amid the daily challenges of living with cancer. 

The film, entitled “Tender yet tough”, will break during ITV’s The Voice on Saturday evening and the campaign will run across TV, digital, social and radio. 

It was created by Benjamin Polkinghorne and Scott Kelly, and directed by Iconoclast’s Jonathan Alric, who is best known for creating music videos as one half of the French electronic music duo The Blaze. Zenith handled media planning and buying.

Every aspect of the campaign will call for donations, since the charity’s funding has been severely hit by the pandemic. As well as a refreshed visual identity, the work features the tagline “Whatever it takes”, which was introduced in July as part of the Macmillan Coffee Mornings fundraising events. 

As many as 50,000 people in the UK are missing a cancer diagnosis because of disruption from the pandemic, according to Macmillan – a number that could double by this time next year if cancer referrals and screenings are not caught up with. 

AMV won Macmillan’s advertising account from incumbent VCCP in November 2019. After research finding that people were more likely to support charities that are seen as dynamic and effective, the agency developed the campaign to showcase the staff’s tough and tenacious side, in addition to their more well-known caring qualities. 

Emma Guise, director of brand and communications at Macmillan, said: “Macmillan professionals up and down the country have spent the last year moving mountains to support people with cancer in the most difficult of circumstances. This new campaign with AMV brings to life our unique spirit by showcasing not just what Macmillan do, but how we do it – the kindness and compassion that we bring along with the grit and determination needed to ensure we can do whatever it takes for people with cancer. 

“We hope this campaign will help the public see us differently and make us more relevant to them, so we can help all the people who need us right now and in the future.”


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