Wednesday 20 September 2017

Controversial 'get cancer' campaign has caused 100pc spike in calls to helpline

The Irish Cancer Society has said the provocative ads are getting people talking

Cancer survivor Cormac Clancy, Dr. Antoinette Perry, Lecturer & Cancer Researcher, Grainne O’Rourke, Head of Communications, Irish Cancer Society, Louise McSharry, 2FM DJ and cancer survivor and Tony Ward, Former International rugby player, journalist and cancer survivor
Cancer survivor Cormac Clancy, Dr. Antoinette Perry, Lecturer & Cancer Researcher, Grainne O’Rourke, Head of Communications, Irish Cancer Society, Louise McSharry, 2FM DJ and cancer survivor and Tony Ward, Former International rugby player, journalist and cancer survivor
RTE Radio One's Michael Murphy
The ‘I want to Get Cancer’ campaign is designed to get people talking about cancer and to highlight the supports available from the Irish Cancer Society
The Irish Cancer Society launched its most startling campaign yet in order to highlight the staggering fact that by 2020, 1 in 2 of us will be getting cancer in our lifetime.
Pictured at the launch were cancer survivor Cormac Clancy, Dr. Antoinette Perry, UCD, Grainne O’Rourke, Irish Cancer Society, Louise McSharry, 2FM DJ and rugby legend Tony Ward. Photo: Andres Poveda

Chai Brady

The Irish Cancer Society’s controversial “I want to get cancer” awareness campaign has produced a 100pc increase in calls to its helpline.

The charity said the advertising campaign, which featured a number of people saying “I want to get cancer”, has kick-started a nationwide conversation about the disease.

The tagline of the campaign was a play on words designed to refer the need to understand or “get” cancer, or to stamp it out.

Former RTE broadcaster Michael Murphy had criticised the campaign for being “too clever”.

“We are talking about the transmission of the ad and not the message,” he told Independent.ie

“It’s too clever by half for a start and the voice-over is utterly wrong.”

However, the charity said that it has had a hugely positive response to the campaign.

“Since posting the 40-second advert on the society’s Facebook page, it has been viewed more than 600,000 times,” a representative said.

“The high viewership has had a direct and immediate impact on the number of people availing of our services.

“Our Cancer Nurseline saw a 100pc increase in enquiries from members of the public compared to the daily average.”

Read more: 'Too clever by half': Irish Cancer Society's 'Get Cancer' campaign is a 'missed opportunity'

The society’s head of communications, Grainne O’Rourke, added that the campaign is having the desired effect due to a high level of public engagement.

“We know our campaign has been provocative,” she said.

“But, thanks to it, conversations about cancer are taking place in homes across the country.”

“People are picking up the phone or going online because they want to ‘get cancer’ by getting informed.

“We’re particularly pleased that our Cancer Nurseline nurses are speaking to more and more people as a result of this campaign.

“We know that one in four cancers can be prevented. If, as a result of ‘I want to get cancer’, even one more person ‘gets cancer’ by attending their cancer screening appointment, or making a lifestyle change that reduced their risk of contracting the disease, then it would have been all worth it.”

Most enquiries to the helpline were in relation to screening for cancer, lifestyle factors to reduce cancer risk, and cancer prevention. In addition, there was a marked increase in traffic to the society’s website – www.cancer.ie.

“There was a 280pc increase in visits to our ‘Reduce Your Risk’ page, which provides important information on what people can do to lessen their chances of experiencing cancer,” the society said.

“Our cancer statistics page also experienced a 127pc increase in visits.”

More than 150 people a day are diagnosed with cancer in Ireland – or one person every three minutes.

The Irish Cancer Society said it wants everyone to “get” cancer by understanding the disease and fighting it head-on.

For more information on the campaign, visit getcancer.ie.

Herald

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