Breast cancer awareness campaign breaks government’s online records
A shock new health advert featuring women's breasts has
outperformed a major campaign to promote the Scottish Homecoming, new
figures have shown.
advert - part of a multi-million campaign - had previously been the
most successful ever to be commissioned by the Scottish Government with
almost 112,000 views.
But the Detect Cancer Early drive starring actress and comedian Elaine C Smith has smashed previous records to become a chart topper on YouTube.
A total of 125,048 people have viewed the video to date which carries the message that lumps are not the only sign of cancer.
The campaign is predominantly aimed at women over the age of 55, as this is the group most at risk of developing breast cancer.
Video statistics from YouTube show that men aged 45–54 years have
been the most likely group to watch the advert online so far, followed
by men aged 35–44 and then women aged 45–54 years.
Brian Coane, accounts partner from The Leith Agency, who made the
advert, said: "The campaign was developed to get the attention of a
female audience. And the first thing that we want the campaign to do is
to help women spot the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
“But cancer is something that affects many people, male and female.
So we hope that the message of 'Don't get scared, get checked' is one
that people want to pass on, especially through word of mouth."
Official government figures show that there were 1,024 cases of breast cancer in women in Greater Glasgow and Clyde in 2010 and five cases in men.
Launched earlier this year, the Detect Cancer Early campaign aims to
increase the early detection of cancer by a quarter by 2015 and save 300
lives across Scotland.
Speaking about the creative process behind the advert Phil Evans,
copywriter from The Leith Agency, said: “We always felt that showing
real breasts, with real symptoms, would make for a powerful advert.
“And that's when we hit on the idea of cards being held up over the
chest. We thought that if we could get a high-profile woman to go
topless and hold them up so that it looked like they were her breasts,
this would instantly grab the viewer's attention.
“Full-frontal naked breasts had never been seen in an advert before,
but we thought if ever there was a time when this could be appropriate,
it was now - for this campaign.
“There was something about Elaine that we thought women in Scotland
would relate to. And when we found out she'd lost her own mum to breast
cancer, it was never going to be anyone else.
“When I thought about what she should say while holding the cards, I
felt it was important to reflect her personality and warm people to the
information by making a joke at the start of the advert.
“That's where the ‘Three kids later ones’ line came in. It shows this
is about real women with real breasts. This honesty set the tone for
the whole advert. It is a straightforward, honest appeal to the women of
“I'm absolutely over-the-moon with the reaction. As Elaine put it
when she had a wee teary moment during filming, ‘If it prevents one
death from breast cancer it was all worth it’.”
The average survival rate for cancer has doubled in the past 30
years, and half of all people diagnosed with the disease now survive for
at least five years.
Between 1986 and 2010, the survival rate of those being diagnosed
with cancer across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has increased by 17%.
Responding to the success of the campaign, Health Secretary Alex Neil
says that the “upfront and honest” advert has made a bold step in
tackling breast cancer survival rates head-on.
He said: “One in nine women in Scotland will be diagnosed with breast
cancer in their lifetime, highlighting the gravity of this disease and
the importance of staging a public health campaign that directly
addresses the awareness of symptoms.
“We needed to give women across Scotland the confidence to deal with
breast cancer and to recognise the potential visual signs and symptoms
of the disease.
“The creative route is a UK first by showing real pictures of women’s
bare breasts with visible signs of breast cancer in a television
“It has drawn widespread, positive responses across the nation that
have helped to galvanise conversation around the topic of breast
“The Scottish Government is proud to have introduced this
groundbreaking campaign which we believe will help pave the way to
improve the health of generations of Scottish women to come.”
Following in the footsteps of Elaine C Smith, a group of celebrities
have since joined together to make an online spin-off video and help
reinforce the Detect Cancer Early campaign messages.
Featuring Kaye Adams, Tom Kitchin, Clare Grogan, Michelle McManus,
Amanda Hamilton, Grant Stott, Phil Kay and Greg McHugh, the celebs are
hopeful that the light-hearted approach, which has had over 10,000 views
so far, will strike a chord with the public.
Kaye Adams said: “I think the tone of the advert is just right. The
important thing in any media campaign is to make a connection and a
lasting impression. A stern 'in one ear and out the other' message is no
good to anyone.
“Scots respond to humour, they enjoy humour and remember it and if it
can help them take on board an important message, then it is doing its
“I thought the original advert was inspiring from the off. It caught
my attention immediately and drove me online to look at it again. Elaine
is the perfect choice, she is known for her humour but also her
intelligence and integrity.”
Source (with both videos): STV