An ad campaign by Pancreatic Cancer Action has been given the all-clear despite attracting over 120 complaints over claims that other cancers were not as serious.
The campaign, devised by agency Team Darwin, featured three separate executions which highlighted that survival rates for other cancers were much higher than for pancreatic cancer. To ram home the point, it used three straplines, “I wish I had breast cancer”, “I wish I had cervical cancer” and “I wish I had testicular cancer”.
The Advertising Standards Authority received 121 complaints from members of the public – many it is claimed who had cancer themselves – as well as a stiff rebuke from Breast Cancer Awareness, which branded it “upsetting, incredibly insensitive and divisive”. However, Macmillan Cancer Support had published a statement of support on the launch of the campaign.
In its defence, Pancreatic Cancer Action said it had received hundreds of supportive messages directly through social media, email and phone, but had received very few complaints despite continued widespread coverage, which it believed indicated that most upset was short-lived.
And, following its investigation the ASA said the ads reflected the genuine views of people who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, views that were clarified by text detailing pancreatic cancer survival rates.
It ruling stated: “We considered that this put the quotes referring to other types of cancer into context and that, when considered as a whole, the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or unjustifiable distress.”
Last year, youth charity Harrison’s Fund tired a similar approach by launching press ad under the headline “I wish my son had cancer”, to raise vital funds to fight Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy.
To leave a comment please register – it takes less than a minute and is free of charge. You will also get our weekly email update The DM Report (to opt out contact firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are an existing user, please log in. If you have forgotten your log-in details please email email@example.com to get them reset!