Broadcasting a colonoscopy live on UK television during an advertising break was a world first and delivered a vital message about cancer survival to millions of people. Cancer Research UK (CRUK) wanted to drive home the message that cancer can be beaten, and often is. More than 40,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year and, if caught early enough, 90 per cent will survive. Fastidious preparations cleared the way for the 90-second Live from Inside the Human Body advert to be shown during a break in Channel 4’s A New Life in the Sun, which is watched by 300,000 people every afternoon. The operation was also streamed live on Facebook, another world first. Teasers for the broadcast had been shown during some of Channel 4’s most popular shows in the week before.
The campaign connected with more than half the adult population reaching 30 million people through wider media coverage, while two million watched the live advert on Channel 4 and Facebook.
One of the judges, Oonagh Goodman, commented: “Cost effective idea. Well executed achieving change.”
The broadcast made national headlines in The Sun, The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mirror and many more. It led to a 30 per cent rise in visits to the fundraising pages of the CRUK website, a similar increase in bowel cancer information pack downloads, and calls to the NHS bowel cancer helpline rose by 30 per cent. The number of bowel cancer testing kits returned went up by 17 per cent.