Ad Review: Cancer Research Race for Life

Commuters pass DOOH race for life ad on London UndergroundCancer Research UK (CRUK) have teamed up with Hello London to raise awareness of and support for their 2017 Race for Live events across Britain.

The campaign, dubbed “This Is Beating Cancer”, will feature inspirational moments from race participants preparing for the run that will be delivered via Digital Out of Home (DOOH) ad sites at key London stations.

People power

As part of the campaign CRUK are encouraging people to wear a single pink shoelace, a badge of honour signalling their participation in the race and their support for Britain’s largest cancer charity. They are encouraged to post images of themselves sporting the distinctive laces with the tag #RaceLace. This and other tagged media will be shared live via 140 digital screens across 25 London Underground stations.

The DOOH campaign is being deployed in the run up to a series of women-only races across the UK. Visitors to the CRUK site are given a range of options for races of varying lengths and types, including “pretty muddy”, “marathon”, and “hike”, and are directed towards an online merchandise store and fundraising portal, as well as being encouraged to share their cancer stories and sign up to be media ambassadors. It’s a fairly comprehensive campaign aimed at harnessing audience experiences to foster greater brand engagement.

Linking social to digital out-of-home

Linking social media to digital out of home

Social media posts tend to be very recognisable as user-generated content and when presented in atypical environments (such as on Tube panels) they have the power to turn heads.

These user-generated social media messages lend a certain sense of authenticity to the campaign that agency-scripted messaging can otherwise lack.

Audiences don’t want to feel manipulated by a faceless brand, they want to have a sense that there is some social weight behind messages as they make informed decisions about which brand to engage with.

The campaign also features a series of documentary style videos as well as operating across radio, outdoor, digital, and social media and sees CRUK team up with Tesco.

This is certainly a campaign that packs some punch.

In terms of its DOOH distribution, it is extremely geographically focussed. CRUK are essentially running a national digital campaign which is being centralised and amplified in the country’s capital via DOOH.

Ads that feature interactive elements and treat their audience as a community have been shown to be extremely effective. By participating in a campaign, the individual consumer has greater ownership over the ad experience. This effect is perhaps even more pronounced in charity campaigns where there is a strong social and emotional motivation to engage with a brand.

The future today

Advertisers are increasingly turning to digital out-of-home which has a great potential for interactivity and live responses to ongoing campaigns. We talked about this in a recent post in which we looked to the future of out-of-home advertising. CRUK have designed a campaign that is putting the future into practice in the present.

The charity sector is fairly adept at crafting campaigns that effectively combine outdoor digital displays, social media virility, and multi-dimensional campaign integration. Cancer Research’s comprehensive model is certainly something to be emulated and is a campaign that has implications for lifestyle and other consumer brands as well as for charity messaging.

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