Hill Holliday Climbs Atop a Mountain of Cigarettes in World Lung Cancer Day PSA

By Erik Oster 

Lung cancer kills an estimated 421 people every single day. It is also notoriously difficult to recover from the disease, with its 18.1 five-year survival rate among the lowest of all types of cancers.

Fortunately, there’s a low-dose CT scan (LDCT) which can detect the cancer in its early stages, before any symptoms are evident and when there’s a much greater chance of treating the disease.

To bring awareness to the issue, the Ad Council and agency Hill Holliday teamed up to launch a “Saved by the Scan” campaign for the American Lung Association targeting those at highest risk of developing lung cancer, timed to coincide with World Lung Cancer Day today. The American Lung Association has identified high risk individuals as those aged 55-80 who are current smokers or who have smoked for the equivalent of 30 “pack years” (a pack per day for 30 years, 2 packs per day for 15 year). The American Lung Association estimates that just half of the around 9 million at highest risk for lung cancer getting early detection screenings could help save some 15,000 lives.


Hill Holliday turned to a visual representation of those at highest risk of developing lung cancer. A woman climbs a mountain of cigarettes, as the voiceover informs viewers that she “smoked 12,000 packs of cigarettes over 15 years.” The spot concludes by telling viewers, “You stopped smoking now start screening” and directing them to SavedByTheScan.org.

“Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer deaths, and lung cancer screening for individuals at high risk is truly the breakthrough we need to save more lives and turn the tide against lung cancer,”American Lung Association national president and CEO Harold P. Wimmer said in a statement. “Lung cancer screening is a powerful opportunity to save lives by diagnosing the disease in early stages when more treatment options are available. Screening can potentially save thousands of lives, and through this campaign we hope to empower and motivate former and current smokers to learn more about their screening options.”

“How often do we get the chance to make advertising that saves lives? With this campaign, brought to life by the unique perspective of Rodrigo Prieto, we get to do just that,” added Hill Holliday chief creative officer Lance Jensen. “It’s an honor and a privilege for Hill Holliday to create ‘Saved By The Scan’ for the Ad Council on behalf of the American Lung Association. We hope this work helps raise awareness of this amazing screening technology and prevents lung cancer from taking more lives.”