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World Cancer Research Fund: ‘Are You Making Yourself Attractive To Cancer?’ / Arthur London & Rankin

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The World Cancer Research Fund has teamed up with agency Arthur London and renowned photographer Rankin to create a jarring campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of a bad diet and how it can affect our chances of cancer. Depicted in the style of glossy magazine covers, spaces which are usually braced by attractive models and celebrities, the bold images are overlaid with the ‘magazine title’ CANCER? and a snippet of text, in the place usually reserved for an insight into the magazine’s cover story, which says ‘Take Our 5-Minute Diet Test Online. Search ‘Cancer Attractive’’. The images also include the World Cancer Research Fund logo.


The strong imagery shows the typical good-looking fashion model but with a twist. Each person is eating or drinking a calorific substance, with all the gory details included. The contrast of content and medium is a clever one. Viewing the images through the lens of a fashion cover photoshoot, typically a space of perfection where airbrushing is commonplace, the unpleasant scenes are even more powerful – a splash of beer spills down a woman’s chin, burger content smears across another’s mouth and hands, a man rips into a chewy, fatty hunk of red meat.


The photographs will be supported by a series of short films directed by Rankin. One 60-second spot sees the same models which feature in the photographs flirting with the camera as they devour foods such as ice cream, ham and doughnuts. It is set to classical music which builds to a climax as the models become more and more animalistic with their food. The images and films aim to debunk the common myth that cancer risk is unavoidable when it is, in fact, directly linked to lifestyle choices. By actively choosing to ignore the things that put us at higher risk of the disease, we are essentially inviting cancer in.



The work leads viewers to a Cancer Health Check tool on the WCRF website, designed by nutritionists, which will serve up recommendations on lifestyle improvements based on the user’s answers. The tool includes questions around height and weight, fruit and vegetable consumption, alcohol and sugar intake, smoking, and use of sun protection.


Jane Heath, director of communications and marketing at WCRF, said of the work: ‘We are hugely excited about this campaign and what it could achieve. Around 1 in 6 deaths annually worldwide are due to cancer. However, we face the issue that the public are tired of hearing what often seem to them contradictory health messages and there is a risk that people are no longer listening.


Our cancer prevention recommendations, when followed together, provide the most reliable blueprint available to reduce people’s risk of developing cancer. We are committed to giving people the most up-to-date, scientific and authoritative information about the links between diet, weight, physical activity and cancer, which is why we hope this campaign highlights our aim that no one should die from a preventable cancer.’


The national campaign will run across social media, OOH and press, with John Ayling & Associates handling media.