BC Cancer gets personal for the holidays

Amid a wave of other ongoing health concerns, the non-profit is using intimate and empowering stories to break through.


British Columbia has struggled through a series of health and environmental crises in the past two years, from wildfires and flooding to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Quietly, however, cancer remains the province’s biggest health crisis.

That reality lies at the heart of a new campaign from the BC Cancer Foundation. Called “This is Personal,” the campaign speaks to the 30,000 British Columbians diagnosed with the disease every year, as well as those who care for them, focusing in on the personal power of individuals in the battle against the disease.

“A core and timely theme of the campaign is personal power,” says Anne Donohoe, VP and CMO for the Foundation. “Anxiety levels overall are especially amplified when we feel like we have a lack of control. ‘This is Personal’ reminds us that behind the stats and headlines are real people with incredible and relatable stories.”

The campaign is underpinned by a 30-second spot that shows important stages of a cancer patient’s journey in reverse, from the ringing of a milestone bell through treatment, diagnosis and research, all the way back to the donation that made it all possible.

BCCF2021_Social_1080x1920Supporting that spot are a number of advertisements that feature bold and intimate still photography of BC Cancer donors, patients, clinicians and scientists, as well as social media posts sharing their motivations for ending cancer.

By telling these deeply personal – and powerful – stories, alongside a showcase of BC Cancer’s “world-class innovations in personalized medicine,” the hope is that the non-profit will break through at a busy and critical time of year for charities, Donohoe says.

“Many nonprofit campaigns are emotive – ‘This is Personal’ is also confident and empowering,” she adds.

And that tone is driving results: “The deeper storytelling shared through ‘This is Personal’ is already inspiring people to connect. We’re seeing our community reach out to one another on social media, share their experiences, and rally others to support the BC Cancer Foundation.”

The campaign represents a shift in approach for BC Cancer Foundation to place greater weight on digital content “while leveraging more targeted broadcast,” Donohoe says.

“Content is at the centre of the campaign, with a focus on long-form storytelling on our social media platforms,” she adds.

The campaign is running through the end of December, using an integrated strategy through targeted digital channels, supported by print and radio advertising and paid and organic social. It was developed by Rethink, with the media buy handled by Elevator.