ACS Goal: More Birthdays

NEW YORK  The American Cancer Society launched its first campaign from The Martin Agency this week. The emotional branding effort positions the 96-year-old organization as “The Official Sponsor of Birthdays.”
The campaign includes TV, print and online. Work introduces a new communications strategy for the national community-based nonprofit that emphasizes the positive results of its fight against the disease with the theme, “A world with less cancer is a world with more birthdays.”
While the Atlanta-headquartered organization has advertised specific segments of its work — such as research, education and community services — this is the charity’s first branding effort.
“It is simple and elegant and embraces the range of our cancer experience,” said
Greg Donaldson, national vp of corporate communications at the client.
“It contextualizes our brand identity in relevant contemporary ways.”
The birthday theme allows people to connect with the organization regardless of personal experience with the disease. Added Donaldson: “Happy Birthday is a victory song. Who would not want to see a world with more birthdays?”
The initiative began with 60-second commercial featuring images of the birthday celebrations for folks of all ages. A voiceover asks viewers to “imagine a world with more birthdays [where] cancer is scarce.” The ad ends with the line: “Stay well. Get well. Find cures. Fight back.”
“[ACS] is all about saving lives, but we wanted to put more of a positive spin on that message and talk about the benefits of their work, that you can have more birthdays,” added Joe Alexander, svp, group creative director at Martin. “Especially for cancer survivors, birthdays are bittersweet. You don’t know when you might have another one.”
A Web site,, crafted by ACS’ public relations firm Brodeur Partners in Boston, invites visitors to register their birthdays, send e-cards and share the message with friends on Facebook.
The client spends about $17 million annually on ads. Ingenuity Media handles the media placement.