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Creative campaign helps raise awareness of bowel cancer symptoms

me&you worked alongside video agency Morever and Bowel Cancer UK's inhouse team to create a memorable and shareable campaign for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month 2023.


Challenge

Someone dies of bowel cancer every 30 minutes in the UK. But it doesn’t have to be that way because bowel cancer is treatable and curable when diagnosed early. 9 in 10 people will survive beyond five years if diagnosed in the earliest stages, but this figure falls dramatically when the disease is diagnosed in the later stages.

Despite increased media attention surrounding 'Bowel Babe' Dame Deborah James, awareness of the symptoms of bowel cancer is low in the general population. A survey in February 2023 showed that a third of adults couldn't name a single symptom of bowel cancer.

Increasing early diagnosis of the disease, especially among the over 50s, is vital in order to prevent people from dying of bowel cancer.

As long-term supporters of Bowel Cancer UK, me&you were delighted when the charity approached us to work on a creative campaign for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in April 2023.

The challenge was to create a platform that everyone could get involved with during BCAM 2023, which would ultimately lead to 70% of people being able to name at least one symptom of bowel cancer unprompted.

Solution

Alongside video agency Morever, me&you generated a number of potential campaign headlines and visual concepts designed to resonate with the 50-74 year-old target demographic.

We aimed to create a concept that was relevant, distinct and emotive, and which could be ‘ownable’ by Bowel Cancer UK during bowel cancer awareness month.

Referring to the five main symptoms of bowel cancer, the chosen campaign encouraged people to ‘#KnowTheHigh5.’ Bold ‘high five’ hand graphics became a visual aid by which to remember the five symptoms. The overall look and feel for the campaign was closely aligned to Bowel Cancer UK’s visual identity to aid brand recognition.

The tone of the campaign was designed to be accessible to everyone regardless of their age, gender, cultural background or level of education. Rather than striking fear, the campaign was intended to positively empower people to know and recognise the symptoms of bowel cancer.

 

We developed an overall campaign concept and logo lockup, which Bowel Cancer UK's inhouse team then developed into a toolkit containing social media graphics, posters, videos and copy suggestions for corporate partners to use on their websites, intranet or social media platforms.

As part of the campaign concept, we proposed that Bowel Cancer UK create an online quiz which would allow people to test their knowledge about the symptoms of bowel cancer and give people something more to share on social media. This gave the campaign a strong ‘call to action’ and made it easier to collect data about how many people engaged with it.

Impact

Bowel Cancer UK were very pleased with the results of the campaign which was well received by the Bowel Cancer UK team, partner organisations and the public alike.

While the NHS, Bowel Babe fund and other organisations also ran their own activities during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, #KnowTheHigh5 had a stronger focus on awareness of the five key symptoms. According to like-for-like surveys, bowel cancer symptom awareness among the UK public increased by 12 percentage points from 62% to 74% after Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, compared to the month before.

 

 

We needed help to make more of our Bowel Cancer Awareness Month activity. We asked me&you to create a campaign with a single-minded focus on symptoms awareness that was memorable, and had a way for people to engage and share. me&you defined an overarching message, a call to action and a visual identity that acted as a springboard for us to develop a campaign that inspired supporters, partners and the public, leading to a highly successful Bowel Cancer Awareness Month campaign.”


Niki Barton Head of Marketing and Communications, Bowel Cancer UK

Results of the campaign

  • 74%

    of people

    could name at least one symptom of bowel cancer following BCAM ’23 (compared with 62% just a month before)

  • 32,000

    people

    took the symptoms quiz on the Bowel Cancer UK website

  • 500+

    partner

    organisations used assets from the campaign toolkit during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

Bowel Cancer UK distributed their #KnowTheHigh5 toolkit to 1000 partner organisations, over half of which got involved with the campaign by sharing assets on social media. Bowel Cancer UK also saw an increase in sign-ups to their mailing list by incentivising the completion of the online symptoms quiz with a competition to win a year’s supply of Andrex loo roll. More than 32,000 people completed the quiz of whom almost 20,000 entered the competition, mostly new to the charity and driven by paid advertising. This provided useful learnings for future acquisition activities.

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