Publicis Groupe is launching a global media campaign today (World Cancer Day) supporting the “Working With Cancer” initiative that the Groupe unveiled in Davos two weeks ago. The effort includes what the firm is calling a first for a holding company: a TV spot that will air regionally during the Super Bowl as well as in the global feed seen live by viewers outside the U.S. The ad is expected to air shortly before or during halftime.
The impetus for the Working with Cancer initiative was the experience that Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun had with his own battle with the disease, which he disclosed and successfully treated last year. After his disclosure he received thousands of testimonies relating to the fear that many patients have not just for their lives but for their jobs as well.
Working With Cancer is designed to secure pledges from companies worldwide to support employees who are stricken with the disease. Companies with more than 20 million workers combined have so far made the pledge.
The global campaign, which is backed by $100 million in donated media time, includes an Out-of-home “takeover” of New York’s Time Square that launches today.
The anchor ad that will air during the Super Bowl is titled Monday and was created by Publicis Groupe France Chief Creative Officer Marco Venterelli. It’s a poignant spot that depicts the fears, anxieties and at times harrowing journey of cancer survivors who are seen returning to work after time off for treatment. The mood is somber but encouraging as the spot mixes scenes of survivors struggling emotionally, getting treatment and being comforted by co-workers and others. It ends with a graphic noting that half of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime followed by a call to action: “All of us should give support at work.”
“Half of us will get cancer but everybody has a role to play,” says Carla Serrano Publicis Groupe Chief Strategy Officer, and lead on the “Working With Cancer” effort. “That’s a life truth and the gist, to connect with people.”
As a storyteller Venterelli says he and creative collaborators used that skill to “deliver emotion for a specific event, cancer.” For patients the path to wellness is an “odyssey,” he says. “Empathy is a key to moving forward and recovery.”
In a statement Sadoun said the effort to recruit companies would continue. “But just as vital is the role all of us can play by standing with our colleagues with cancer. That is why we are launching a call not only for awareness, but for action from everyone, to create a real cultural shift in the workplace.”