Breaking Down Barriers with Flowers


There are moments that change our lives. When Big Brother’s Jade Goody was brave enough to talk about being diagnosed with cervical cancer she inadvertently saved the lives of hundreds of other women. Cervical cancer is the most preventable form of cancer, yet still contributes to the deaths of a large proportion of women in their early 30s in the UK.
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Cervical cancer is the most preventable form of cancer, yet still contributes to the deaths of a large proportion of women in their early 30s in the UK.


Jade’s openness and honesty resulted in a huge surge in surgical screening attendances across the UK. Tragically, in March 2009 at age 27, Jade died less than a year after her diagnosis. However, since that time screening for cervical cancer has dropped low on women’s radar again. It is national discourse that prompts many women to get a screening. Cervical screening isn’t the subject of ‘polite discussion’ and therefore it takes a moment, often a news story, to get people talking and, ultimately, to act.
Fundamentally, the campaign set out to stop young women dying of a preventable cancer:
  • Firstly, we had to raise awareness about cervical screening amongst 25-34-year-old women in Scotland, focusing specifically on the C2DE category
  • We knew it would be widespread conversation and national sentiment that prompted action – so we set social shares and reach as a secondary KPI
  • Ultimately our campaign was tasked with driving action. We would be measured by the number of women contacting their GP to find out when their next smear test was due.



Our strategy was to develop a similarly talked-about ‘moment’ which would shake women aged 25-35 years in Scotland from their apathy and make them face up to the simple steps needed to avoid this preventable disease. We needed to drive cut-through.

Our media strategy was to actively court controversy; the more the campaign was talked about the better. All media choices, from channel selection to tactical planning, were geared towards generating PR and conversation.
Ideally, we’d lock every member of our target audience in a darkened room and project the facts of cervical cancer on a huge wall, thirty feet high. Which, coincidentally, is what we did.

Research highlighted significant barriers to uptake of cervical screening – the main one being that it’s generally not seen as a priority. Others included:
* Fear, pain and embarrassment.
* Lack of knowledge about the purpose and benefits of cervical screening / their risk of cervical cancer.
* Lack of willingness to openly discuss cervical screening.
* Access issues, the GP surgery itself and male practitioners.

Based on the latest data and research in this area, there was a clear role for communications to put cervical screening back on the public’s radar and start breaking down the barriers women.



For the first time in the history of Scottish marketing, women found themselves staring at a flower that
looked uncannily like a vagina, with the blunt message of ‘stop fannying around’.

The small budget of £59,000 needed to go a long way, so we had to work hard to make it work hard. The media selection needed impact and cut through, and we used our proprietary consumer research tool, Consumer Connection System, to understand which channels would meet that brief.

Our insight and research results showed that the target audience were far more likely to talk about advertising which they viewed at the cinema or on social media than the average UK adult.

We used cinema and social tactics as our hero channels to promote controversy and create salience amongst the 381,000 women aged between 25 and 34 in Scotland. The video, which ran on Facebook, YouTube and cinema was as blunt as it was humorous, as unexpected as it was thought-provoking and as memorable as it was effective.



We helped save lives. And it doesn’t get any better than that!
Cervical cancer can be extremely serious if not detected early through screening. It was a subject with low awareness and a topic not discussed by our target audience. Our work with the creative agency and Facebook helped change that.


Scotland watched our online film for 78 days in total.
That stunning figure is based on 135,251 completed 50 sec video views. The online video also generated 17,296 landings to the website.


Our cinema commercial alone was seen by nearly half our target audience.
Of the 302,440 women who saw our commercial, across the campaign period 181,464 were in our C2DE, 25-34 target category. No mean feat when you remember there are only 180,000 women falling into this category across Scotland.


Our videos weren’t just watched, they got a reaction.
5,509 Post Reactions. 1,503 Post Shares. 687 Post Comments. Overall, thanks to paid promotion and post shares our Facebook ads reached 416,537 people, with earned activity extending our reach with the target audience.


Most importantly - action was taken
TNS results showed that 59% of the target audience saw the campaign. 49% saw the video. 46% saw the digital ads. 20% saw the cinema ad. Of the 59% who saw the campaign 26% said they attended an appointment or called their GP, 28% talked about the video and 14% went searching for more information online.
It was a remarkable result given the subject matter and low budget. It also proves what you can achieve when you tackle a problem differently and think outside the box – or TV as it’s more commonly known.
Media choices were geared towards courting controversy and stimulating conversation with our target market, to create a moment. It only takes a moment, and it is a moment that matters!

l 5,509 Post Reactions
v 1,503 Post Shares
& 687 Post Comments
F 416,537 Facebook Reach Thanks to paid promotion and post shares our Facebook ads reached 416,537 people, with earned activity extending our reach with the target audience.
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