Colorectal Cancer Association launches cheeky new campaign

A full-blown viral, social media, TV, OOH and print campaign urges cancer prevention through screening. There's also an ingenious Facebook application that turns your Facebook portrait into your backside on Mar. 31.

There may be no ‘ifs’ and ‘ands,’ but there are certainly butts in the new Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC) ad campaign.

Created and executed by Ogilvy Montreal for the CCAC, the ‘Get Your Butt Seen‘ campaign – intended to raise awareness that March is Colorectal Cancer month, with that form of cancer being the second most prevalent in Canada – offers an invitation for residents in Ontario and Quebec to post pictures of their posteriors on Facebook and YouTube. People are also recommended to Twitter or email them to close friends as a reminder that screening is the surest form of prevention.

And for those who paste their bums on Facebook and agree to be part of the campaign, something magical will happen to their profile on March 31, the day the campaign ends: their Facebook profile pics will be swapped for their uploaded hindquarters pics for the day.

The social media butt-face-switch is just one element of the campaign, which also includes Google banner ads, TV, OOH, print and a guerrilla street team that will be putting up posters around major cities in the two provinces, with a centralized focus in Toronto and Montreal. The campaign, primarily targeted to those 50 years and older, ends March 31.

The OOH involvement include transit ads on bus bumpers and shelters, subway and train print ads, as well as placements in medical clinics, fitness locations and hospitals.

Martin Gosselin, CD at Ogilvy Montreal, says the objective of the campaign was to deliver a serious message with a sense of humour.

‘There are other types of cancer that are easier to communicate, that people talk more about,’ Gosselin tells MiC. ‘Colorectal cancer is a little more taboo. So we tried to find a playful way to bring people to understand the importance of screening. The president of the CCAC, Barry Stein, wanted something that would have impact in social media. So we came up with the ‘Get Your Butt Seen’ idea, and that’s how we started.’

The 31-day campaign launched virally March 1 with the launch of the microsite, with more info available at

‘We got a lot of pro bono web banners in Toronto and ‘wild’ postings, and we have a spot that runs on the One Step Network LCD display in the subways,’ says Gosselin. ‘In Montreal, it’s OOH. We have the back of buses and transit ports as well.’

There’s also a television element. The CCAC is running a two-year-old 30-second PSA throughout Canada with a newly added URL embedded at the end of the commercial, while there are fresh 15-second spots also running throughout Quebec. Gosselin adds that NewAd donated 250 posters in washroom stalls through Ontario and Quebec.

The media buy was handled internally by Ogilvy Montreal and CCAC.