Time to Fight - Using Rebellion to your advantage (Cancer Research UK)

July 24, 2013

We’ve seen growing levels of anger globally, from the recent unrest in Turkey and Egypt, the protests in Spain and the less sensational, but no less present sense of frustration we feel permeating discussions about local and global social policy.  Post-GFC (if we are truly ‘post’) we are asking questions.  Is this really the way we want to live?  As the human and environmental costs of global capitalism begin to unfold we are seeing the inequality, the unfairness and we ‘re getting angry.

So how have brands tapped into this sentiment, to the rebellion that is slowly building, and to which they could in fact become victim?

One example we just had to share is from Cancer Research UK, their 2013 race for life execution.  No matter how many times I watch this, it and makes me want to stand up and be counted.


It is pure rage, and defiance.  It is for fighting, but crucially, is not about destruction.  It is aggressive, passionate and about the power of us all to stand together and change things. 

It works beautifully to weave the emotions cancer sufferers and their families feel (frustration, anger) with a gentle tongue in cheek humour the way to ‘grin and bear it’. 

I haven’t watched an ad that made me feel so emotional in a long time.  It’s partly the subject, a cause that I believe in, but it’s the way in which it captures the fighting spirit, and the social nature of a fight, that feels so compelling.

I believe that this would be an impactful ad in its own right, but the timing of  raising rebellion, and bringing the fighting spirit to the fore, taps into a much larger cultural shift.  We are all ready to pick a fight, what better enemy than Cancer?

We can see how starkly the Rebellion Trend has played a role when we consider where they were in only 2012, one year ago:


It’s about all of us versus cancer, but until this year, we weren’t ready to be angry about it.  Let’s hope our collective rage brings Cancer Research the funds it needs to change lives.


Sarah