Give a S**T. Save a life. The Marie Keating Foundation

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The Marie Keating Foundation briefed us to increase awareness among men and women aged 60 – 69, in specific areas where uptake of the free bowel cancer screening is low. Bowel cancer is one of the three most common cancers among Irish men and women but early detection improves chances of survival for five years after diagnosis by 90%.

With uptake of the free screening only 40.2%, despite previous national campaigns, we knew the job to do was more than just raising awareness. We found that, while we’ve come a long way when it comes to discussing health issues, bowel cancer is one disease Irish people are still not comfortable talking about. Mainly because of the nature of the screening process. So rather than listing off statistics that have been highlighted in previous campaigns, we decided to refer directly to the thing people find it hardest to discuss – the fact that the screening involves, well, ‘giving a s**t’!

Outdoor posters, featuring the line “I GAVE A S**T. AND IT SAVED MY LIFE.” were placed in targeted areas around screening centres. The ads feature both males and females in the target age bracket.

Radio, featuring bowel cancer survivor Paddy O’Leary echoing the sentiment was followed by social media to target a wider audience. We all have a parent or relative in this age group, so we saw targeting a wider audience as a crucial step in ensuring the message gets out there.

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 – a toilet roll with an important message – “GIVE A S**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.

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