Lung cancer bodies form alliance

Two cancer charities are to work together to raise awareness of the early symptoms of lung cancer.

It is the first time that Macmillan Cancer Relief and Roy Castle Lung Foundation have formed such a partnership. They decided to pool resources for the nationwide campaign, which promotes the message that early diagnosis saves lives, after becoming concerned about the lack of awareness about the causes of the condition.

"We needed to tackle the issue that lung cancer isn't as visible as other forms of the disease such as breast or testicular cancer," said Hilary Croff, who is heading the campaign at Macmillan. "We've got to raise the profile of lung cancer as people are losing their lives through poor understanding of the early symptoms," she said.

Designed by ad agency Ideas Unlimited, the initiative will launch in 14 cities across London and use a mixture of different media to spread the campaign message. Ads showing male and female torsos with the message "Check 'em out" will be driven around city centres on ad vans.

"The plan is to make it impossible for people to ignore the campaign," said Croff. "With the weight of two organisations and a powerful visual element behind the initiative, we're confident that we can make a difference."

Posters will be placed in popular smoking areas, and 3,200 pubs will carry beer mats urging people with symptoms to visit their GP. "By taking the campaign to the places where there are people who are at risk from lung cancer, we're hoping to catch their attention and hopefully make them think about how vital it is to recognise symptoms," says Croff.

Print advertising will appear in Nationwide league football programmes and in the national and regional press. Leaflets and posters featuring Andy Capp cartoon characters will also be distributed to doctors' surgeries, bingo halls, libraries, pharmacies and convenience stores. A radio campaign designed to appeal to the over-45s will air on a number of AM stations.

"People ignore rational messages about cancer so we decided on a simple 'Check 'em out' message to get noticed," said Jeremy Jackson Sytner, creative director at Ideas Unlimited.

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