Ad Nut
Feb 14, 2024

Clemenger BBDO puts a twist on a classic ritual to raise awareness for bowel cancer this Valentine's Day

The campaign taps into the ritual of chocolate-gifting on Valentine's Day to cleverly raise awareness about the perils of colorectal cancer—amongst the deadliest diseases affecting those aged between 25 to 55.

Photo: Courtesy of Clemenger BBDO.
Photo: Courtesy of Clemenger BBDO.

Ahhh humans. You love your rituals and days of celebration, don't you—be it birthdays, Christmas, or even National Underwear Day (it's real, it's on August 5th this year). You turn these calendar-allocated dates into vibrant spectacles filled with balloons and infectious enthusiasm, gathering in fervor to shout, cheer, lament, and share in tandem.

Meanwhile, from the tranquil woods, Ad Nut and other furry creatures watch with curious eyes, finding amusement in the energetic buzz that you seem to generate during these moments. Valentine's Day is no different. While humans go about their customs—exchanging heart-shaped cards, gifting bouquets larger than some small trees, and indulging in sweet confections—Ad Nut can't help but chuckle. To this squirrel, the spectacle of love, with its grandiose expressions and lavish expenditures, seems as over-the-top as Ad Nut attempting a double backflip off the tallest oak for a single acorn. After all, in the animal kingdom, love is a simple affair, a matter of sharing a found nut or a cozy branch, not orchestrating candlelit dinners under the stars.

But this Valentine's Day, amidst the sea of predictable gifts and gestures, something peculiar caught Ad Nut's keen eye. A campaign so out of the ordinary that it made even this cynical squirrel pause and ponder the mysterious pathways of human affection. 

The brainchild of Clemenger BBDO for Bowel Cancer Australia, Ad Nut has found a Valentine's campaign that introduces a gift that's far from your run-of-the-mill box of chocolates this 14th of February. Enter the 'Irregular Chocolates'—choccies with a twist, and ones that carry a message that might just save a life. Yes, you read that right. Instead of whispering sweet nothings this V-Day, these chocolates are here to talk about something much more significant: Poo.

The Irregular Chocolates campaign cleverly seizes Valentine's Day to prompt meaningful, albeit unconventional, dialogues about poo, utilising lovingly-designed, 3D printed chocolates to broach the topic of early-onset bowel cancer symptoms—the deadliest cancer affecting those aged 25 to 55. 

True love, as it turns out, means being able to discuss anything and everything, including the nitty-gritty of one's bowel habits. 

Chef and food designer Ryan L Foote joined forces with the Clemenger BBDO team to craft four unique 'Irregular Chocolates,' each symbolising a symptom of bowel cancer—be it Jammy (blood in your poo), Gooey (a noticeable change in bowel habit), Airy (unexplained weight loss), or Chunk (a lump or swelling in your abdomen). 

Speaking of the collaboration, Foote shared: “Art is an incredible driver of conversation. It’s inspiring to see Bowel Cancer Australia and Clemenger BBDO lean on unique creativity and design in educating and engaging the public on such an important yet under-represented topic. I’m honoured to be a part of it all.”

Ad Nut is not going to lie; it definitely took a moment for this squirrel to truly process this campaign, given Valentine's Day has always been more traditionally reserved for pillows than poo-low talk. But the more Ad Nut watched the campaign film and read up on statistics associated with bowel cancer (as many as 1.9 million cases were confirmed globally of colorectal cancer in 2020, with Japan having amongst the highest diagnoses in Asia), Ad Nut realised there's no 'good time' to chat about life-threatening diseases, so today suits just fine. 

It turns out Clemenger BBDO's executive creative director Richard Williams agrees, sharing in a release with Ad Nut: “To turn around perceptions of bowel cancer, we need to smash stigmas and normalize talking about poo, especially among younger demographics who think bowel cancer can’t affect them. What better way to reach and engage with them than via social. And what better time to launch a chocolate-driven campaign than in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day? Because if you really love someone, you can talk about anything.”

The campaign has also received pro-bono support from TikTok to aid in its efforts to raise awareness amongst younger demographics (under the age of 50).

Free boxes of the limited-edition boxes of Irregular Chocolates will be available for pick up (one box per couple) from R L Foote Design Student in Clifton Hill in Victoria until 5 pm today, Wednesday, 14 February, while stocks last. 

If you can't get your hands on the chocolates, Ad Nut recommends using this campaign as an effort to open up conversations on this topic in lieu, because what greater act of love can there be than caring for someone's health? Poo-cisely. 


Bowel Cancer Australia

Julien Wiggins, CEO

Stephanie Bansemer-Brown, National Marketing & Publicity Director

Ryan L Foote Design Studio

Ryan L Foote, Founder & Creative Director

Maddison Ryder, Business Development Manager

Clemenger BBDO

Richard Williams, Executive Creative Director

Georgie Winton, Managing Partner

Huei Yin Wong, Senior Art Director

Phoebe Sloane,  Senior Copywriter

Gracie Smith, Senior Account Director

Stephanie Cheung, Business Manager

Caroline Roe, Head of PR

Stephanie Punchard, PR Business Manager

Grace Lavendar, Social Media Content Manager

Lewis Steele, Head of Social

Claire Bisset, Executive Director – Digital & Creative

Lisa Moro, Senior Producer – Digital Production

Christopher Newlands, Designer / Content Creator

Jo Howlett, Senior Producer

Made This

Callum Smit, Lead Producer – Digital Production

Thomas Pollard, Director / Editor

Alex Byrne, Content Producer

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


Campaign Asia

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