Cannes Lions

Live from Inside the Human Body


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Case Film
Presentation Image






63% of people in the UK don’t believe that cancer can be beaten. It’s known as ‘the big C’ – a singular, massive, relentless killer. Donating can seem hopeless: “I’ve given £3 a month for years, will they ever find a cure?” But when you look a little closer, there’s no such thing as the big C. There are many types, grades and stages of cancer.

So we needed to get the public to believe that not only will research one day beat cancer, but it is already having a real and tangible effect on cancer treatment and prevention. We decided on an idea that would simply and effectively show the massive progress that research has made and the impact that it is having right now.

The most dramatic way we could show the positive impact research can have was to show it live. From inside a human body.


We launched 10-second teasers on Channel 4 to in the run up to the event.

On the day, the procedure was performed and filmed at Cardiff and Vale University hospital by Doctor Sunil Dolwani. An expert in removing complex bowel polyps, Doctor Dolwani explained what viewers were seeing throughout the live broadcast. Cancer Research UK also streamed the advert live on Facebook Live followed up by a cancer nurse available to answer viewers’ questions. The advert was then also made available across Channel 4’s social media accounts.

Viewers then had a second chance to see a 60-second version of the ad on the 18 January.


The operation hit the national headlines appearing in print for The Guardian, The Sun, The Times, The Daily Mirror, and many others. Over a quarter of a million people watched the daytime operation live on Channel 4 and Facebook Live, with a further 1.4 m people tuning in to watch the repeat at 9pm that night.

The PR alone reached over thirty million people, over half the adult population. As Dr Dolwani carefully removed the polyp from Philip, we began removing the public’s skepticism that research will beat cancer. By breaking new ground with a world first, we managed to get tangible proof of the impact research can have onto the national agenda.

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