Stop Darmkanker

Mini budget, maxi results: the one letter that reached a million people


Colon cancer, we’ll admit, is not a very sexy theme. The good news is it can be traced up to ten years before the disease manifests itself, by performing a very cheap test at home. Easy as pie. The bad news? Nobody knows this test exists. Our mission was to spread the gospel, working our way around a very modest budget to create a buzz around a problem that everyone would prefer to ignore.


Making waves is what this case is all about. Taking into account the impact we wanted to create, it made sense to charm some famous faces to join our good cause. However, the cliché of a pop star advertising a random product with a big fake smile of whitened teeth was a trap we were keen on avoiding. So we decided to go for a big print campaign with just the right kind of celebrities. Sounds like something you’ve seen a million times? Sure. But wait till you hear what we did next.


Our message was simple: do the test and save a life. Maybe even your own. We first asked Flemish celebrities to take a selfie while in the can. We circulated the pictures along with the hashtag #saveyourselfie, thus spreading the rumour about the cheap tests that were available at any pharmacist.

Belgian celebs are nice enough. But we were thinking big. So we wrote a letter to Brad Pitt, asking him how his stool had been lately. Mister Pitt is a hard man to reach, so we set up a Thunderclap campaign that was backed by politicians, more celebrities and journalists. We were all over tv talk shows and national radio stations went out of their way to get a hold of the Brad man himself.

For our grand finale, we pulled some political strings. We managed to get all seven Flemish parties to send out the same tweet on the same day. It said: “7 parties, 1 view. Yes, we can. #monstercoalition”. No need to say we had the undivided attention of every political journalist in the country. After 24 hours of silence, all parties spoke again: “7 parties, 1 opinion: save yourself, do the test and stop colon cancer.” Or how to make all the newspaper headlines without spending a penny.


How many lives we might have saved, is impossible to tell. But the stunt with Brad Pitt alone has attracted the attention of roughly 5,4 million people. That’s about half of the whole population of our little kingdom of Belgium. Add to this startling number the domestic campaigns with celebrities and you’ll agree that the return-on-investment is rather impressive. With a bare minimum of means and the right modus operandi, we’ve gotten Big results.