Cannes Lions

The Chat

BMB, London / BREAST CANCER NOW / 2023

Awards:

1 Silver Cannes Lions
1 Bronze Cannes Lions
4 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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Case Film
Presentation Image

Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

In the UK, one woman is diagnosed with Breast Cancer every 10 minutes. Despite this alarming fact, people struggle to talk openly about the disease.

Breast cancer is physically gruelling, but the emotional impact of a diagnosis isn’t spoken about enough. Many women in their forties and fifties suffer in silence.

Breast Cancer Now wanted to drive social change in the UK by normalising open conversation around breast cancer. The objective: to help prevent women with the disease from experiencing feelings of emotional isolation – whilst also positioning Breast Cancer Now as the place to turn to for support, whether they’re a patient, relative, friend or survivor.

Building on Breast Cancer Now’s ongoing strategy, the brief was to create an idea that led to more open conversations around breast cancer.

Idea

The Chat is the UK’s first WhatsApp drama series. Designed to connect with 40-50 year old women in a place that’s central to their daily lives – on their phones.

The story unfolded in real-time over 6 weeks through voice notes, videos, gifs, photos & text messages sent between four best friends as they navigated an unexpected breast cancer diagnosis together. An audience of influencers, celebrities and real people joined a Whatsapp group to watch the series – sharing its content and sparking interactions on social.

The series covered the most sensitive and emotionally challenging issues surrounding breast cancer, with an incredible cast bringing the story to life – BAFTA-award-winning Rakie Ayola, Indira Varma (Game of Thrones), Kate Ashfield (Shaun of the Dead) and Claudie Blakley (Pride and Prejudice).

This groundbreaking approach to storytelling helped the audience feel like part of the friendship group, making the experience far more intimate than any TV

Strategy

To tackle the emotional isolation thousands of women in their forties and fifties feel when they’re diagnosed, Breast Cancer Now commissioned The Chat. As the UK’s first WhatsApp drama series, it was a newsworthy idea in its own right. Its key message: it’s important to talk openly about breast cancer.

This target audience in particular share intimate messages on their phones. They also love to get lost in a drama series. This idea combined the two.

The Chat supported Breast Cancer Now’s ongoing objective, to get the UK talking more openly about breast cancer. The strategy was to engage celebrities, influencers and members of the public to grab news headlines and spread awareness. The Chat played out day and night in real-time over six weeks. A wealth of shareable content was created, alongside trailers, and it was supported by news interviews to increase reach.

Execution

The Chat unfolded on WhatsApp in real-time over 6 weeks through voice notes, videos, photos and text messages sent between four best friends as they navigated an unexpected breast cancer diagnosis together. An audience of influencers, celebrities and real people were invited to join a Whatsapp group to watch the series – sharing its content and sparking interactions on social.

The famous cast donated their time and talent to bring The Chat to life. Their high profiles helped draw large numbers to watch the series.

Content from the series is still being shared, and, like any good drama series, viewers can catch up online via an episodic version housed on a microsite.

The series was covered by mainstream media across the UK, including the nation’s biggest morning show Good Morning Britain, the hugely successful BBC talk show Woman’s Hour and the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster ITV’s flagship news programme.

Outcome

The campaign has reached over 24.5 million people so far.

Earned media is £2.1 million & counting.

Conversation around Breast Cancer Now increased significantly & site traffic rose by 191% since The Chat launched.

To date, The Chat has clocked up over 23 minutes of airtime on the BBC, Britain’s non commercial national broadcaster. An almost unprecedented figure for a branded content series.

The drama series has also been covered by mainstream media across the UK, including the nation’s biggest morning show, Good Morning Britain, the hugely successful talk show Woman’s Hour and the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster ITV’s flagship news programme. Major newspaper titles, including the Evening Standard, Daily Mirror, the Daily Express and The Voice covered the series.

With a constant flow of positive tweets, likes, comments and shares across social platforms from people moved by the series, driving social change by normalising open conversation about breast cancer.

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