Indian Cancer Society (ICS) has launched a press and outdoor campaign created by Bates CHI and Partners. In conversation with Campaign India, Ranjan Kapur, vice chairman, Indian Cancer Society and country head, WPP, explains the vision of ICS and objectives of the campaign.
Kapur notes that the Indian Cancer Society is perhaps the oldest NGO in the country (1951), and is focused on end-to-end cancer treatment. With a key feature of the Society’s mission being to promote the fact that cancer is treatable, it positioned itself as a ‘Beacon of Hope’ two years ago. “Our mission is to erase the fear of cancer by promoting it as treatable disease,” adds the ad veteran.
The campaign is themed ‘Celebrate Second Life’. It seeks to underline that life after cancer is not just worth living, but worth celebrating.
What was the objective behind the ‘Second Life’ communication? Could you help identify its origins?
Three years ago, we redesigned our logo to say ‘I can’. That has been the premise on which all our campaigns are based. Because ‘I can’ reflects and honours the resolve of our patients, it provides them with the hope of normal life. The logo also signals the universal message of hope that cancer can be overcome.
Now it’s our intention to extend this message of hope to encourage nationwide support for the fight against cancer. And this brief was passed on to Bates CHI & Partners. With a very clear message that what we want to communicate is the life after cancer - that it’s worth living. So the hope and determination with which you face cancer will give you the ability to celebrate what they termed as ‘Second Life’. And that’s how the new campaign ‘Celebrate the Second Life’ came about.
Bates met up with cancer survivors. We have another group of cancer patients who got cancer when they were kids, called ‘Ugham’ (to rise above and to overcome). Their whole approach is to go back to children who are suffering from cancer and help them overcome the fear of the disease through the treatment. These are cancer survivors who have formed a support group. We are going to be using this celebration of ‘Second Life’ even for them. Because not only are these kids now grown up, they have got jobs, they are fully functional, they are back in society, they have been rehabilitated and a couple of them have even got married.
So our intention is to make sure that not only do we help them to overcome cancer but help them celebrate the life that they have got after cancer. By rehabilitating them, by bringing them back into the society as a functional human being, not suffering from stigma or ostracism which cancer patients do go through. It is strange that in our country, a girl who has survived cancer, if she is single, she can’t get married because nobody will marry her. Our intention is that she gets totally adjusted back in society. That’s again a part of our celebration of ‘Second Life’.
So, the ‘Hope’ campaign that we had done three years ago has now manifested itself in celebrating ‘Second Life’.
How different is this campaign from the previous one?
It was similar in the sense it talked about hope, that treatment alone is not enough and hope goes a long way, to help you overcome cancer.
This campaign is more celebratory, of the second life. So this is very different. When I saw this campaign I was blown away. It is, I would say, an extension of campaign that was probably done in the 70s by Ogilvy, which was the ‘Life After Cancer is Worth Living’ campaign. It was a hugely celebrated campaign at that time, it won many awards. So my brief to Bates was to go beyond that campaign. So celebrate ‘Second Life’ is going way beyond saying that life after cancer is worth living - we actually celebrate that success of having overcome cancer.
When was this campaign launched and how long do you plan to run this?
The campaign was launched when we had our Founder’s Day in April. It will run as long as we can manage to run it. As far as we are concerned, this is a campaign that has legs and should run as long as we can make it happen.
What is the media mix of the campaign? Do you see the campaign being extended to digital / TV / radio?
We are not a commercial organisation; we don’t have funds. We go on hope and determination. Hope that there will be media people who help us extend this message of hope nationwide and determination to make it happen. We are approaching and appealing to all the people within media, media owners, people associated with media, who can help us.
We have gone one step further in the Indian Cancer Society - we have now formed a group all NGOs dealing with cancer on a nationwide basis. We are saying let’s all get together and fight cancer on a national basis and let’s forget the parochial or limited approach.
We are charitable organisation. We are not doing this for profit, we are not doing it to boost our egos. We are all volunteers. I have been working her as a volunteer for the last five years. I get a huge amount of satisfaction and there is no ego gratification, it’s just an emotional reward and psychological reward. And we are talking to all the NGOs who are fighting cancer saying, ‘Why don’t we all get together? Why don’t we work together, to eradicate cancer – and if not eradicate at least bring it under control - on a nationwide basis?’. And I am hoping that ‘Celebrate Second Life’ is strong enough to become the national approach to fight cancer.
What are your plans for BTL?
We have a large number of programs. For example, we just had our Founders’ Day - that’s where the campaign was launched. Then we extended this campaign to the Ugham’s Founders’ Day. We have a ‘Rays of Hope’ which is coming up in October or November, it will be a day dedicated to this campaign. It will be the focal point and there will be rays of hope and celebration of ‘Second Life’ will be the main theme of that campaign. We have had an auction of paintings and we continue to plan events through out the year. We are also looking at celebrities. I am afraid that I can’t name any right now because we are still in the process of finalising them.
How many cities will the campaign cover – in print, through outdoor?
In print we have covered Delhi and Mumbai so far and the rest all depends on how much media is able to support us.
We have seen in press ads that you have associated with brand like Viacom18, Bank of Baroda and HDFC. Can you share details of the associations? What is the nature of these tie-ups?
They are part of our support group and they helped fund many of our campaigns. They have also helped us in funding the treatment of cancer patients. For example, we have a fund created by HDFC, which is the ‘Cancer Cure Fund’. A substantial part of the interest that people earn by participating in this fund is dedicated to the Indian Cancer Society.
Are you planning to associate with other brands going forward?
As many as we can. We are looking for people who will come forward and support us; we will be participating in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon. Early next year, we are also going to do a ‘Relay for Life’ program, participating in the ‘Walk for Life’ program. There are number of other programs that will be running and each of them will - in its own, small or big way - be able to promote the concept of celebrating second life, bringing hope and determination to people who have been affected by cancer and have overcome it.
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