New colorectal cancer awareness transit ads hit roadblocks

The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada is in the midst of its annual national campaign to raise awareness about the importance of getting screened for the disease, but one ad concept has run into trouble with some municipal transit authorities.

Kristin Laird March 28, 2011

The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC) is in the midst of its annual national campaign to raise awareness about the importance of getting screened for the disease, but one ad concept has run into trouble with some municipal transit authorities.

The effort, created pro bono by Ogilvy Montreal, includes transit ads, newspaper, radio and TV that launched earlier this month to help kick off national Colorectal Cancer Month.

New to the campaign this year are bus decals that show a row of men and women pulling down their pants to “moon” onlookers. The ads only expose the models’ underwear. Vancouver, Montreal and St. John’s deemed the executions too risqué to run on their public transit systems.

CCAC president and colon cancer survivor Barry Stein was disappointed with the decision, especially since St. John’s “has some of the highest colon cancer rates in the country,” he said.

The campaign is “a bit sexy and that’s the point,” said Stein. “We want to be provocative in all of our campaigns and get as much attention as we can to get people talking about colon cancer screening.”

Stein said the CCAC hasn’t given up on these two markets and hopes to change their minds. The CCAC is running billboard executions in place of the bus ads.

The campaign is a continuation of last year’s effort and once again drives viewers to GetYourButtSeen.ca or FaitesVoirVosFesses.ca in French. Visitors can upload an image of their backside or choose one from a menu, then send it to their friends. As users complete the steps to send the image, they are presented with cancer facts and statistics.

Within the first three months of the site going live last year, over 100,000 people from around the world visited the site, said Stein.