Cannes Lions

Melanoma Just Got Personal

COHN & WOLFE, Los Angeles / NOVARTIS / 2016

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There are 100 different forms of cancer out there, each with their own high-octane promotional campaign and amplified messaging. Getting noticed requires anything but ordinary. That’s where the face paint comes in … and the Super Bowl … and a quarter back willing to play along.

To highlight the distinct mutations of advanced melanoma – and to get patients to seek treatment for their particular form of the disease – we convinced patients to paint their faces with common shapes of melanoma mutations. But we had them do this on the biggest face-painting stage in the world: the Super Bowl.

We invited back retried three-time Super Bowl champ Troy Aikman – a stage two melanoma survivor – to again paint his face for game day. But this time he would be showing his support for the fight against advanced Melanoma. Others joined in, painting their faces and raising awareness.


This was not just a creative “disruption idea,” but a purposefully designed campaign with three key components that ensured we delivered the important message about knowing your personal melanoma mutation status and seeking a doctor to recommend the best treatment option for you. The three elements include:

-Create a face-paint concept that allows people to physically “see the disease” and generate videos and images for content use

-Link the timing of that concept to one of the biggest stories of the year, one where face-painting plays a natural role

-Tie it all together with a spokesperson that naturally links face-paint, football and advanced melanoma together

- 09/15 - Planning

- 25/01/16 - Press release, website launch, Facebook page, YouTube video, etc.

- 26-27/01/16 - NYC media interviews

- 04/02/16 - Radio Row interviews

Top-tier media placements included: Associated Press, Reuters,, Fox & Friends, and HuffPost Live.

Scale: National US


Tier 2:

-Generated two-and-a-half times more coverage than expected, ultimately achieving more than 60% of our entire year’s media goals in just one month

-Reached more than 260 million people through earned media

-Conducted 52 interviews in just three days as part of 72 broadcast and online placements

-90% of the coverage feature two or more key campaign message points

Tier 3:

-Website: 34,600+ page views of campaign website, including 20,000+ unique views (individual visitors) in just 3 weeks

-Reenergized an online community of patients and caregivers, with more than 5,000 more people inspired to join our Facebook community and prompting 75,000 additional shares, likes, comments and clicks

-Promoted Facebook post timed to the Super Bowl generated 139,000 impressions and 67,000 engagements in 5.5 hours - significant given the short timeframe for promotion

-More than 1,000 community members shared their personal story

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