Charity commercials are a mass debatable subject at the best of times, but a recent semi-conjunction of adverts from three of the major players in the Big C market has given us this golden opportunity to compare and contrast…
Cancer Research – “Enemy”
First up is Cancer Research with their “Enemy” campaign. Despite scoring obvious points through the use of the sublime ambient tones of Brian Eno, this is my least favourite of the three. Beautifully shot in a kaleidoscopic and transcendental array of colours, it lacks heart. Or soul.
I feel no connection to the charity. It is represented as cold, clinical, abstract imagery and serves only to frighten me to the power of Cancer. Cancer is the wolf at my door, threatening my very existence and can only be beaten if I donate and allow Cancer Researchs’ boffins to save me.
I can only imagine the distress that this may cause anyone who has been recently diagnosed. A reinforcement of their utmost fears that Cancer IS going to kill them and there is no hope. I am not suggesting that the power of thought alone can be a cure, but a defiant state of mind is surely one of the most important aspects of any recovery and this commercial only serves to paint the patient as a powerless victim.
Macmillan Cancer Support – “Not Alone”
Thankfully, Macmillan‘s “Not Alone” campaign has a much more emotional tone. Despite having no personal experience of being diagnosed, I feel that it perfectly captures that moment when your world is shattered by the news and you walk away in a disconnected trance.
By juxtaposing the frightening, if not partially Matrix style, images of people falling in slow motion with the salvation provided by members of the public, we are not only reminded of the support provided by Macmillan, but of the good that exists within all people.
Marie Curie Cancer Care – “Symmetry”
Finally, and by far my most favourite, we have “Symmetry” by Marie Curie Cancer Care. Some of you already know, but to those who don’t I feel it is important that I firstly disclose that I am employed by Marie Curie Cancer Care. You can take from this what you will, but I can assure you that it has in no way affected my review of this commercial.
Arguably, Marie Curie deal with the most difficult aspect of Cancer care as for the patients their nurses deal with there is no chance of recovery. They provide that most important of things, a good death.
“Symmetry” captures this sentiment perfectly, mirroring those cherished first moments with the last. There is no voice-over, or song lyrics. The sounds of life become the words amidst the achingly beautiful piano soundtrack. The tone is just right. There is no implied fear other than the ever present. These are real people, living real lives.
I haven’t gotten into the rights and wrongs of calls to action, captions, Twitter or Facebook addresses on these three as opinions are varied and each could be argued until the wee small hours. I have simply based my opinions on the lasting feeling that these commercials leave within me, and surely that is the most important thing of all?
Other than remembering the name of the charity of course!
I’d love to hear your thoughts and views in the comments. Feel free to argue, agree or pass faint praise and you can catch me over on Twitter @stuartwitts if you want to properly chew the fat.