Thursday, November 5, 2009

F*ck you, Cancer!

This is my kind of cause marketing campaign: It's meaningful, street-level, message-driven, and has kickass attitude:

It's part of the Canadian Cancer Society's "Fight Back" campaign. I haven't been able to track down the ad agency responsible, [update: a commenter tells me it's DDB Canada] but I wish I had done this campaign. It's been up around town for several weeks now, yet it keeps getting my attention.

The reason I'm so keen on the tone is that, like many Canadians, I have lost loved ones to cancer. Both my maternal Grandparents succumbed to it, too young, and it eventually got the best of my paternal Grandmother — even though she lived strong with thyroid cancer to the age of 98.

I find that people who deal with the spectre of cancer in the family tend to react in one of two ways: Either in hushed tones, as a taboo subject, or with righteous anger.

I am one of the latter group. It may seem irrational to anthropomorphize a cellular disease, but even misplaced anger is a great motivation. My mother tells me the story of how my uncle, a family doctor, was prone to fits of rage against inanimate objects when he realized he could not save their mother's life. But he remained a vigilant and committed fighter against the disease for the rest of his career. I imagine many researchers are driven by the same fire.

Through activities like Movember or our Breast Aware Day last month, I've participated in some of the goofier consciousness-raising efforts. But for me it's a particularly vengeful form of satire.

Beneath my cheesy, sparsely-sprouting moustache, you should be able to hear me muttering:

"Fuck you, Cancer!"


  1. Excellent! I have not seen these yet.

  2. Agency was DDB, and if you like the posters, You'll probably love the web video they did:
    Can't post a link but it's on Youtube channel: cdncancersociety

    I feel much the same emotions you have described Tom and all I can say is Yay for the Cancer Society for taking a strong stance!

  3. Visit to view the rest of the campaign.

  4. Thanks! It's also hotliked in the text above.


    Check it out.