Communications: Campaign of the week - Cancer charity tests maleawareness

The Prostate Cancer Charity is asking pub-goers to take The Real Man Test this week, as it seeks to highlight the most common male cancer in the UK before next week's Prostate Cancer Awareness Week.

The charity has sent a specially designed beer-mat quiz to 1,000 pubs and social clubs in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool and Scotland to create awareness of the disease among those most commonly affected by it - men over 45. These areas were chosen because each one is served by a specialist prostate cancer nurse funded by the charity.

Competition entrants will be asked to answer three questions. The first two relate to popular culture from recent decades, and the last is about prostate cancer. The overall winner will receive a prize worth £5,000, donated by Snapon Tools - runners-up will each win Dixons vouchers worth £250.

One example of the beer-mat is pictured above, and features questions about the Rumble in the Jungle boxing match in 1974 and the cult 1970s TV cop show The Professionals. The third question is: "What cancer have Nelson Mandela, Stirling Moss and Robert De Niro all had?"

"We are keen to get basic messages about prostate cancer to pubs and other places where men meet," said John Neate, the charity's chief executive.

"So it was important to create a serious but entertaining message that registers with our target age group and helps to overcome an ocean of ignorance about the disease."

The charity's previous campaigns have played on the subject's potential for humour. In recent years, men have been challenged to dissolve a 'peeball' by urinating on it, take an online 'Journey to Planet Prostate' and take part in a quiz about the fertility of various types of animals, entitled Are You More Spunky than a Monkey?

Neate said he had opted for a more restrained campaign this year that would allow the charity to test responses to different approaches and learn the lessons that will shape future campaigns.

He said that the final question in each set of three was phrased to make participants realise that the whole quiz was designed to raise awareness of prostate cancer rather than popular culture.

The front of each beer-mat has been left unbranded deliberately, while the charity's logo appears on the reverse of the mat to reveal the source of the quiz. There is also a space for competition entrants to fill in their contact details before posting the beer-mat back to the charity.

Posters will be placed near pub toilets to direct readers to the quiz, which will also have an online version without prizes. Competition winners will be announced on 5 April.

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