Wednesday 23 January 2019

Cancer campaign 'too clever' - survivor Murphy

Communications Manager Grainne O’Rourke.
Communications Manager Grainne O’Rourke.

Former RTE broadcaster Michael Murphy has criticised the latest Irish Cancer Society ad campaign for being too clever and said it is a missed opportunity.

Mr Murphy, who survived prostate cancer, said the problem with the ad is that people are not talking about the message but about the ad itself.

The tag-line of the campaign is 'I want to get cancer' and in the broadcast version several people can be heard repeating the line.

It is a play on words designed to refer to the need to understand or 'get' cancer. It also refers to the desire to 'get' cancer or stamp it out.


The Irish Cancer Society has defended the controversial ad and said it is "deliberately provocative".

The charity has had complaints but Communications Manager, Grainne O'Rourke, said it has a "duty of care to the Irish public" to keep people informed about the disease.

"We want people to understand cancer," she said.

However, Mr Murphy said, having looked at the ads, he fears the message has been lost.

"We are talking about the transmission of the ad and not the message," he told the Herald.

"It's too clever by half for a start and the voice-over is utterly wrong.

"There wasn't a correct emphasis or tone used which would imply the various meanings of the phrase 'I want to get cancer'," he said.

However, a spokeswoman for the Irish Cancer Society said last night the charity has seen a significant jump in traffic to their website since the campaign launched.

"As a result of the 'I want to Get Cancer campaign' we have seen an increase in calls to our freephone Cancer Nurseline. More than half a million people have now viewed the advertisement online, while others have viewed the advert on national television."

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