All around west Dublin and Galway over the last two months there have been ads with media personalities brandishing toilet roll urging people to “Give a Sh*t” over the past week. This is the culmination of a two-month-long campaign by the Marie Keating Foundation to raise awareness about Bowel Cancer. The campaign, created by Dublin creative agency JWT Folk, urges the people aged 60 – 69 to “GIVE A SH*T. It could save your life.”
Creative Partner, Karl Waters explains; “Uptake of the bowel cancer screening test is 40.2%. We knew that the issue was more than a lack of awareness – targeted campaigns have been done before on free the bowel-screening.”
“We’ve come a long way when it comes to discussing diseases and taking care of our health, but bowel cancer is one disease that people are still not comfortable talking about. And this is mainly because the screening process is a bit embarrassing to discuss! So rather than repeating statistics that people already know – that bowel cancer is in the top 3 most common cancers in Ireland, and that early detection gives you 90% change of living more than 5 years after diagnosis – we approached it by referring directly to the thing people are most embarrassed about discussing – the fact that the screening involves literally ‘giving a sh*t’!”
Waters continued; “One thing Irish people have in spades is a sense of humour so what better way to dispel embarrassment and destigmatise bowel cancer screening, than to poke a bit of fun at the process?”
Outdoor posters, featuring the line “I GAVE A SH*T. AND IT SAVED MY LIFE.” popped up in targeted areas around screening centres. The ads feature both males and females in the target age bracket.
The campaign also targeted a wider Irish audience through social media. “We all have a parent or relative in this age group, and we all want to ensure they stay around for
as long as possible, so we saw targeting a wider audience as a crucial step in ensuring the message gets out there. We know that a lot of people go to the doctor or for a screening at the urging of relatives, so it’s important to target familes too.” explains Waters.
To round off the campaign, and ensure extended awareness throughout April – Bowel Cancer Awareness Month – JWT Folk and the Marie Keating Foundation sent a special gift to carefully selected media personalities and influencers – a toilet roll with an important message – “GIVE A SH*T. It could save your life.”
The toilet rolls were sent to a select target group based on their following or position in Irish culture. For example, health experts like Dr Ciara Kelly and media personalities like Maia Dunphy.
The Marie Keating Foundation CEO, Liz Yeates says; “As early detection is such a key focus for the Marie Keating Foundation, we are delighted to be highlighting the importance of Bowel Screening in this campaign in order to detect more cases of bowel cancer at the earliest stages and in order to save lives. Our message is simple: Take part in BowelScreen once you receive your invitation – you may have no symptoms but the test can detect this invisible disease and it could save your life,”