Bring back the warmth in charity campaigns. 

It seems that as a charity grows,  the turnover quadruples, the brand gets bigger and everything needs to be all Mary Poppins. (Practically perfect in every way).

My problem is the surge in such over use of external agencies particularly at cancer charities. I understand that creativity is a skill and a fresh pair of eyes are sometimes what a charity needs. The problem for me arises when charities are purely looking for how they can raise the most money no matter what, regardless of whether it might offend or exclude the very people these charities are meant to support! How fucked up is that? 

Campaigns are losing their warmth and realness and instead  being replaced by corporate campaigns that lack feeling and are quite frankly, dead behind the eyes. Except no one really wants to admit it- but here I am doing just that! 😉

Anyway. Here are 3 campaigns that I really dislike for various reasons. I am willing to bet that all 3 were thought up and marketed by creative agencies. 


This one goes against everything I believe in; as you know I believe in freedom of speech and a non censored cancer voice. One lady with pancreatic cancer said, “I wish I had breast cancer”  or at least that’s what we’ve been told. I think sadly in this instance it was a really dangerous statement to make and was uncensored purely to create a huge impact knowing it would offend many women with breast cancer. That’s not right or moral. 

Cancer is bad period. Let’s not compare them or add fuel to the existing belief that breast cancer is a good cancer to have. Comparing cancers as a shock tactic to raise your charity profile is a low blow. 

2 Pass it on campaign. 

Rather than ask 50 thousand women with breast cancer or God forbid use real women with real stories, the charity preferred to use premiership footballers and ex Spice girls to front their campaign. They clearly wanted to use as many celebs as possible armed with a few football puns (all in the aid of  spreading awareness of course). They didn’t even use anyone directly affected by breast cancer. You have to wonder why, and whether they gave any thought to the very people they’re meant to be supporting?  

I get that you don’t want to scare people and use images of women with mastectomies and no hair throwing up in bed, but don’t give them Wayne Rooney kicking a ball about!

3. Bears kill cancer 

Well my jaw dropped when I saw this giant billboard with this message. Yes it’s kind of cute and endearing (if you live in a fantasy world) but in the real world it’s basically stupid and childish. 

Cancer isn’t silly or fluffy. It’s not teddy bears and fluffy bunnies and happy endings, cancer is terrifying and horrible.

By all means use your bear to fundraise but don’t mock the disease. You can make all the money in the world and still not find a cure for me and my friends or millions in the future, so don’t suggest that anyone or anything kills or cures cancer until it’s a reality particularly a bloody bear! Grrrr. 

Agencies are great and have the creative flair that’s often lacking in house. But consult the people who’ve been through it sometimes too. 

And just relax a little! A little honesty and a nobody with an inspiring story probably won’t harm your brand…


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