Worldwide cancer RESEARCH

Even the biggest charities have to ask people for money, and asking is never easy, and knowing you are not the only ones asking can only make it even harder. When people do give, it’s  important that every penny is spent wisely and budgets are stretched to the maximum. This can often influence what gets done and what gets put on the ‘if only’ shelf and it  often dictates how well a charity can tell their story, or spread their message. 

Pioneering charity, Worldwide Cancer Research, posed this question to us and their creative agency:  'How do we get more, for our communications budget?’

The answer... 'Use every part of the buffalo.'


“Cancer.  It’s a small word for one of the most complicated and challenging diseases that threatens the every day lives of too many people. 1 in 2 of us to be precise.

“At Worldwide Cancer Research we believe that through a worldwide approach to funding pioneering research we will see that day when cancer is just a word. We just need more investment. Which means asking for more money.

“In 2015 we launched a new fundraising drive to help deliver increased supporter donations and approached our creative agency to help  us launch our campaign and raise our profile.

“Their idea ‘Be the Answer to Cancer’ was bold and ambitious but also would require a bold and ambitious budget to deliver it with the quality we required.

“The budget allocated to the launch campaign was never going to be enough. We wanted to demonstrate our worldwide reach but the budget we had would barely cover a one day studio shoot in the UK alone.

“But the idea was strong and we also knew it could work beyond a fundraising film.  So instead of cutting back on our ambition we decided to grow it. Every project has a budget attached to it. If we took a more holistic view to our total communication spend we could use the shoot to create content that went beyond a one-off film for a one-off event and generate content for an entire year. 

“Pooling the budgets gave us the ability to shoot the big film. Of course it meant our list of deliverables went up exponentially. But it also allowed us to test our belief that a good idea should never be wasted. That every part of it can find a use beyond its original purpose.

By involving Hamish from the outset and providing the big picture of what would be required from a deliverables perspective he was able to maximise his time on set
— Beverley Hart

“But we needed to find a film maker and photographer who could not only work with tight budgets and tight time frames but who also understood how to ensure we used every minute of the shooting schedule to capture content for an entire year’s worth of communication materials.

“The agency recommended using Hamish Campbell. By involving Hamish from the outset and providing the big picture of what would be required from a deliverables perspective he was able to maximise his time on set and with the scientists.

“The shoot involved  six scientists and moved from the wind swept coast of Aberdeen to the cities of Cambridge, London, Amsterdam, Paris and ended in Barcelona. 

“Hamish travelled light, with a crew of just two. And because he could also do all his own sound, edit and end-frame graphics he kept the budget tight. But what really allowed us to deliver this project was the planning and the thinking a head. It meant Hamish’s time spent with a scientist in front of a camera was maximised and that the time spent hanging around – the usual  MO on set – was spent being highly productive.



“In the end Hamish and The Union made seven films. Knowing how and where else the content would be used enabled the copywriter to write a script for the campaign that could also be edited into six individual films for website and social media content. Hamish did stills photography on location for large scale posters and print. But then he also maximised the time with the scientists and shot portraits and short films in their labs too. Shots of Hamish and Mat shooting each day made it onto our blog and ‘behind the scenes’ footage made good social posts.

“The initial requirement came in the form of a film to launch a high profile fundraising campaign at an event which was only two months away.  By the end of the project we had a full year of communication content. We had solutions in the bag for the annual review, for fundraising brochures, for legacy campaigns, the website and content for tour digital channels. It even worked for HR – recruitment and employee communications.

“Hamish and the agency delivered way more for the money than if we had treated each project individually. The internal team and the Board were delighted. On the launch night there wasn’t a man or woman there would didn’t understand just how vital our work is to finding those answers we all need to cancer.”

Beverley Hart, Director of Marketing Communications, Worldwide Cancer Research.