Case study : Institute of Cancer Research/ Everyman Male Cancer Campaign

The Everyman Male Cancer Campaign's TacheBack fundraiser

Everyman Male Cancer TacheBack campaign
Everyman Male Cancer TacheBack campaign

Organisation: Institute of Cancer Research/Everyman Male Cancer Campaign
Campaign: TacheBack
Agency: Online campaign by Steel; PR and design in-house

The Everyman Male Cancer Campaign, an initiative of the Institute of Cancer Research, aims to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer and raise money to fund research into its causes and treatment.


A supporter of the Everyman Male Cancer Campaign came up with the TacheBack idea in early 2003 and it was immediately adopted by the organisation as a fundraising and awareness-raising mechanism. The appeal takes place in September every year. The idea is for men to raise sponsorship by growing a moustache for a month. The target for 2008 was £300,000.

How it worked

The event is advertised every year in London Underground stations and men's public toilets and has had support from London free newspaper Metro and the Daily Mirror. The 2007 and 2008 campaigns focused more heavily on encouraging supporters to use a TacheBack website and online community created specifically for the appeal.

Supporters can donate through the site and participants can raise funds directly through their own personalised pages.

In 2008, the organisation added the facility for participants to compete with fellow fundraisers by uploading photos showing the progress of their moustaches. Weekly online challenges were set to encourage continuing support, and prizes were given to the winners.

At the end of the month, the organisation held a party where participants could show off their moustaches in a grand finale parade.


The Everyman Male Cancer Campaign estimates that the 2008 campaign has raised approximately £230,000 so far, but because money usually comes in months after TacheBack and is still being sent in daily, it is confident the campaign will reach its target of £300,000. This will make a total of £1m raised through TacheBack since it began in 2003.

The organisation did not specify how much was spent on the appeal, but said that it was done on a minimal budget with beneficial rates from marketing firm Steel.

Everyman hopes the total amount raised will increase to £1.5m after the 2009 TacheBack appeal.

Hannah Jordan


TacheBack proves that, with the right message and medium, you can connect with audiences not usually associated with charitable activities - in this case, men under 35. Just as impressively, TacheBack has generated a self-sustaining network of motivated fundraisers at minimal cost. Bravo.

However, TacheBack does invite a couple of questions. Is it too niche? Flicking through the website can feel like stumbling in on a rugby club party. You can almost smell the testosterone and stale beer. Could more have been done to ensure potential new audiences weren't excluded? Where are the older people, people from ethnic minority backgrounds and, dare I say it, women?

And where's the message? Everyman's presence on campaign materials has been pushed so far into the background that it verges on the subliminal. As the MoonWalk in support of Breakthrough Breast Cancer proves, having your message front and centre doesn't have to mean compromising your audiences' sense of fun and involvement.

Caveats aside, a brilliant, cleverly targeted campaign - and it's impossible to argue with the results.

Creativity: 4
Delivery: 4
Total: 8 out of 10

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