BC Cancer Foundation focuses on patients’ personal journey

Who: BC Cancer Foundation, with Rethink for strategy and creative. Elevator for media.

What: “This is Personal,” a brand campaign looking to connect with potential donors during a crucial time of the year for fundraising. Vice-president and CMO Anne Donohoe calls it an evolution of the organization’s marketing approach as the non-profit sector shifts from being transactional to more relationship focused.

“[W]hat makes the discipline of marketing work for [the for-profit sector] is the same for non-profit—it’s understanding your audience, how to connect with them, and understanding your value proposition and being able to articulate it in a very impactful way,” she said. “The product is different, but the approach is very much the same.”

When & Where: The campaign is in market now, running through the end of the year across TV, digital and social, supported by some print and OOH in the B.C. interior. The organization moved more of its media budget from TV to digital this year, allowing for longer-form storytelling on platforms like Instagram (see more below).

Why: The campaign highlights the fact that every cancer journey is unique and emotional. It’s designed to help the BC Cancer Foundation stand out at a time when so many non-profits are aggressively pushing for donations. “It’s critical that we’re able to engage and connect with people and stand out from all of the communications in the market,” said Donohoe.

How: The campaign features several components, but it’s anchored by a 30-second video with a storyline that unfolds in reverse, from a cancer patient ringing a bell in an oncology ward, signalling that she is cancer-free.

The woman’s journey encompasses chemotherapy, the emotional moment when she cuts off her hair, to being diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, to the moment standing in front of the bathroom mirror when she first discovers a lump in her neck. It ends with a shot of a woman having made a donation to the BC Cancer Foundation, while a voiceover states, “Ending cancer starts with your donation.”

There is also long-form content running on its Facebook and Instagram channels, in which people touched by cancer—from donors to patients, clinicians and scientists—share their thoughts on why ending cancer is so personal for them, and why they are propelled to change outcomes (see the three-part series featuring lung cancer expert Dr. Stephen Lam here, here and here).

And we quote: “The campaign’s intent is to ensure British Columbians know their donations to BC Cancer Foundation make a difference,” said Donohoe. “We have seen the impact of philanthropy over the past year—during health and environmental crises. We hope that we can continue to rally the community around ending our largest health crisis, cancer. ”

Chris Powell