Y&R Creates ‘Big C’ for Cancer Research

SAN FRANCISCO Young & Rubicam has developed an integrated campaign for the University of California Davis’ Cancer Center, the first time advertising has been used to urge cancer patients to participate in clinical trials, officials said.

Launched this month, the “Big C” campaign focuses on cancer patients’ options once they are diagnosed with the disease. A TV spot plays off the letter C, showing the letter changing into a series of words. A voiceover urges cancer patients to take control by participating in clinical trials. “It may change how you look at the ‘Big C’ tomorrow,” the narrator states.

TV, radio and print ads are appearing in the Sacramento, Calif., area. The $350,000 effort also includes an online component. If the “Big C” campaign succeeds during its three-month test in Sacramento, the National Cancer Institute will release it nationally.

Medical researchers hope the ads from the San Francisco shop will help eliminate a major roadblock in the development of new cancer treatments: low participation rates in clinical trials. According to research nationwide, only 3 percent of adult cancer patients participate in trials.

Y&R won the UC Davis business in November following a review in which eight agencies pitched, said Sally Kennedy, senior vice president of marketing and sales at the agency.

The ad campaign and research are funded by the National Cancer Institute, in partnership with Aventis, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly and Novartis Pharmaceuticals.