Ad Nut
Nov 16, 2023

Empowerment through awareness: Lessons from two campaigns

How do you like your fill of 'purpose'? Served graphic or packed with entertainment? Either way, Ad Nut has you covered.

Empowerment through awareness: Lessons from two campaigns

Two campaigns from different corners of the globe have swung onto Ad Nut’s radar this week. Despite their distinct contexts—one basking under the relentless Australian sun, the other illuminated by the neon glow of Gangnam—both ads share a common thread of emphasising individual well-being and practical safety, transcending the conventional ad tropes.

Down Under in Victoria, the sun can be intense, and cancer statistics cast a shadow. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Regardless of skin type, over 95% of melanoma is caused by exposure to UV radiation. While skin cancer impacts all genders, ages and races, there's a myth that men are less at risk.

Dermatologists estimate that melanoma will affect 1 in 27 men and 1 in 40 women in their lifetimes. That's stark, yet safety from the sun is seen as a woman’s thing. A Boston University researcher conducted a study to find that 77% of sun care products are targeted toward women and advertised in women’s magazines. This further propagates the stereotype that sun protection is a feminine, cosmetic affair—Cancer Council Victoria and creative arm Bastion are trying to change that with ‘When you go out, don’t let cancer in’ campaign. 

Ad Nut likes that sun protection is not a selling point of vanity here and appreciates the departure from vanity pitches, likening it to the hard-hitting approach of anti-tobacco ads. The visuals, like surgical scars, are designed not to flatter but to instill a fear that lingers, making sunscreen a shield, not just a lotion.

"Our campaign is designed to address this complacency by reframing the risk that incidental sun exposure brings and to drive better, more frequent sun protection behaviours," says As Angela Morris, Chief Strategy Officer at Bastion.

The campaign is crisp, powerful, and moving. Visually it's so confronting that your insides churn; well, it turned a cynic of another species empathise with the sufferings of humans. But Ad Nut wonders if graphic imagery really has that kind of long-lasting behavioural changing impact that Cancer Council wants through its advertisements, especially when other players in the space tap in on the same fear mongering?

In a landscape where fear is a well-trodden path yet significant changes have not occured in the use of sunscreen or the rates of skin cancer, is the challenge of creativity now to test a new tactic? Ad Nut wonders if in this space even provocative is getting a bit safe.  

Now, let’s leap across continents to Seoul, where Cheil Worldwide has spun a twist on the 'Drug Test Poster' initiative. The agency was tasked with hyping the comic superheroine-criminal Korean series, “Strong Girl Nam-soon.” Along with boosting the buzz, they devised a concept to empower the public with a tangible defense tool against drink spiking. 

Drug crimes and cases of drink spiking are rising in Seoul, especially rampant in affluent neighbourhoods of the Gangnam district, where the young ones flock to enjoy nightlife. Cheil Worldwide has put detachable drug testing kits with the TV series poster and placed them strategically in subways, coffee shops, pubs, bus shelters, cafes, salons, hospitals, and even the ivy-clad walls of universities. People can pull the kit from the poster, peel and dip to test a suspicious drink. 

Ad Nut reckons the campaign will earn accolades for practicality and relevance. It delicately balances creativity with viability and sets itself apart from a mere marketing endeavour to a socially responsible initiative.  

There’s a fine line between promotion and action; Ad Nut thinks both these campaigns navigate that realm with precision. To think of it, both could've turned gimmicky but the overall execution is thoughtful. Neither are creatively brilliant, Cheil's scores well on Ad Nut's innovation index, but they are both well made and capture your attention. Subtle and impactful, the call to action doesn't just speak about safety but hands down a tangible tool to navigate the terrain of well-being.


Cancer Council Victoria's ‘When you go out, don’t let cancer in’ via Bastion

Client: CCV
Head of Media and Communications: Kelly Dienaar
Marketing Manager Prevention: Maddy Leigh
SunSmart Program Manager: Emma Glastenbury
Senior Research Fellow: Clover Maitland

Agency: Bastion
Managing Director: Mike Godwin
Group Chief Creative Officer: Simon Langley
National Chief Strategy Officer: Angela Morris
Creative Lead: Chris Searle
Client Director: Madeleine Bakker
Producer: Carolyn Starkey

Production Company: Airbag
Director: Lou Quill
Executive Producer: Renae Bergent
Producer: Johanna Rayner
DOP: Joey Know
Editor: Seth Lockwood
Post: Bastion Make
Sound: Rumble

The “Drug Test Poster”

Client: JTBC
Marketing Director: Hyukjoo Lee
Marketing Senior Manager: Misun Myoung
Marketing Assistant Manager: Heewon Lee
Creative Agency: Cheil Worldwide
Creative Director: Hyekyung Jeong
Copywriter: Hyekyung Jeong
Art Director: Kangmin Kim
Account Executive: Jangmoo Lee
Production: Paulus
Producer: Kyungsin Kim, Minkyu Park, Seungche Jeong


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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