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I WISH MY SON HAD CANCER

basics
Industry: Public interest & Non-profit
Media:Direct Market
Market:United Kingdom
Language:English
Style: Minimalism
credit
Brand:
Agency:
Executive Creative Director:
Creative Director:
Copywriter:
Art Director:
Photography:
Other credit:Head Of Copy: John Vinton
descriptioncnen
Describe the brief from the client:
Harrison is six. He has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. There's no treatment, no cure and little hope.

His Dad, Alex, set up Harrison's Fund to raise money for research. Not easy when no-one's heard of DMD, and you've got no budget. So he asked us to help.

The Evening Standard offered some space. It was a start.

Alex told us something in passing. Something shocking. That sometimes, he wished his son had cancer instead. A disease people knew of. That was treatable and, possibly, survivable.

We knew it would make a powerful story. With huge PR potential. So we ran it.

Creative Execution:
Like our strategy, the creative execution was simple. A brave, thought-provoking statement. Followed by an emotional and honest plea from a father in anguish, contemplating a future without his son. Alex’s words and pain echoed in a black and white shot of him holding, loving and desperately wanting to protect Harrison. The key was to avoid the usual clichés of charity advertising, it had to feel like Alex himself had put the ad together so we wrote in the first person and deliberately made the ad feel minimally art directed.

It definitely got noticed.

Creative Solution to the Brief/Objective:
The creative told a powerful story. An honest plea from a father in despair. His emotion captured in one simple shot.

It came from something Harrison’s dad said. Sometimes, he wished his son had cancer instead. A disease people knew of. That was treatable.

We knew it was. So powerful, we feared running it. But we needed to create a much bigger impact than a normal 25 x 4 ad. It broke the unwritten rule of charity advertising: you don’t compete. But when you’re the father of a dying child, you don’t care about the rules. So we ran it.

Results:
Our ad certainly grabbed attention.

Newspapers covered the story as far away as Brazil. Alex landed appearances on ITV and the BBC. And things really took off online. Where our community managers waited to respond.

Website visits went up by 17,000%. And people debated and donated from around the world.

Major businesses, like Barclays Capital, pledged support. A documentary about Harrison and DMD is in the pipeline. Direct donations are up by over 200% to £65,000.

Not bad for a 25x4 black and white press ad and no budget. But one brave client.
awards
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2014
Silver Direct
Best Low Budget Campaign
Golden Award of Montreux 2014
Gold Medal Creative use of media
Best Use Of Print Media
New York Festival International Advertising Awards 2014
First Prize Creative Marketing Effectiveness
Use of Media
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