Cancer Society Pays Its Way




Sponsors $12 Mil. TV, Radio, Print Campaign From T.G. Madison
ATLANTA–Moving away from its traditional policy of public service announcements, the American Cancer Society has launched its first-ever paid national ad campaign, “Hope. Progress. Answers.”
As developed by T.G. Madison here, the effort is an attempt to reposition the nonprofit as a public health partner instead of a passive charity.
“The PSAs were running at 3 a.m. in the morning and completely missing the target audience,” said ACS representative Eric Miller. “Our research, including a Gallup poll, made it clear the best thing we could do to get our message across was a paid advertising campaign.”
The ads build on the supposition that all of us are, in some way, affected by cancer.
Four 30-second, soft-focus television spots beckon family members, survivors, patients and volunteers to seek state-of-the-art information and support provided by the umbrella agency around the nation. “No matter who you are we can help” is the tagline.
“This is not a bleeding heart, whimpering, simpering kind of campaign,” said T.G. Madison president Virgil Shutze. “It’s a very direct appeal to people on the grass-roots level.”
The $12 million effort, which is running in English and Spanish versions through August, brands the Atlanta-based American Cancer Society as the source for information, understanding and support for those impacted by the disease.
In a field crowded with more than 200 service and research organizations featuring the word “cancer” in their names, positioning is critical for ACS outreach, as well as its fundraising efforts.
Beyond the commercials airing on national network and cable television, radio, print and outdoor media messages buttress the effort.
T.G Madison’s earlier advertising assignments for the American Cancer Society in-volved the charitable organization’s wills and annuities programs.
GCI Group, a unit of New York-based Grey Advertising, will provide public relations support for ACS.
“Moving away from public service announcements is a pretty bold move,” said Shutze. “But some things definitely needed clarification. People think the American Cancer Society is a massive organization somewhere out there that does something. It was all sort of vague.”