Screen Colons Canada gives Canadians a kick in the pants

The non-profit has launched a campaign to alert men and women nearing 50 that they should get screened for colon cancer.
SCC newspaper

Non-profit Screen Colons Canada is urging Canadians to get their butts in gear and get screened for colorectal cancer with a new print, OOH and digital campaign.

Colon cancer is the second deadliest form of cancer for Canadians, but is 90% curable if caught early. So with creative by One Advertising, the program will run throughout March, colon cancer awareness month, with the key message being Canadians should start getting screened for the disease at the age of 50.

“Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, with timely and thorough screening,” says Nancy Rooney, chair and president of Screen Colons Canada and director of strategy and marketing – foodservice, PepsiCo beverages and foods. “This campaign is a clear and simple message to reinforce the importance of screening with our target group [of people 50 and over].”

The creative features men and women, notes Karen Howe, SVP, CD, One Advertising, since the cancer affects them in almost equal numbers, a fact the foundation also wants to raise awareness around.

The agency has done the work pro bono, but it involves a paid media buy for print ads appearing in the Globe and Mail. That will be accompanied by TSAs in the Toronto area and the foundation is also talking with doctors and local gyms about placing ads in offices and fitness centres. The brand is also using found media to get its message across, with a minimalist symbol (two brackets representing the shape of a bottom with an exclamation mark inside of it) being placed in golf carts in September, during the Darryl Sittler Smart*Ass Golf Tournament. There are plans to expand that to stadiums and arena seats next year, Howe says.

Digital activations include a two-week, targeted national buy on Facebook. A reminder message will be sent to anyone celebrating a 50th birthday that they should go for a screening. It also involves a two-week takeover of the Yahoo! Canada email login page.

“I think there is a playful quality to this without it being disrespectful and it does have the disruption ability because it is a simple and memorable visual icon,” Howe says. “I just thought it was a visually elegant solution that doesn’t rely on fear, shame or shock to make a point.”