BBDO Malaysia ECD shares inspiration behind latest cancer awareness campaign

BBDO Malaysia's ECD Vijay Anand and his team wants to send a message to the youth, that cancer can happen to anyone, at any age.

The creative director said the entire team partnered with the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) on a new campaign called CLLBR8 which aims to get streetwear brands onboard to spread cancer awareness among youth, who are increasingly looking up to the “not so typical" brands anymore.

With hashtags #cllbr8 #streetwear #streetawareness, CLLBR8 said it will "hijack" popular streetwear staple and limited edition pieces, and "infected" them with its own unique designs -  each telling the youth something about cancer.

The project is still in its initial phase with no official launch date announced. So far, local streetwear brands that are participating in the project are Pestle & Mortar, Lansi and Mutha Puaka. The agency is still looking for more brands to collaborate or may even start a line of cancer awareness wear on their own. Since the launch of its teaser, BBDO said it has received several inquiries from streetwear brands in Canada, Europe and US for possible tie-ups.

BBDO is also working on a line of cancer awareness t-shirt designs with local brands, and are planning pop-up stores in universities and colleges.

"Many follow streetwear brands religiously and are aware of the latest collaborations between brands or celebrities," explained Anand.  As a huge fan of streetwear and a sneaker head himself, Anand pointed out that very few local advertising agencies tap into this particular trend, and as such they paired it with an awareness programme. He said:

It's not about doing something that wins awards, it’s about doing something that is relevant now, something current and that is going to help these target audience know about these diseases.

"We met a cancer patient who said his best friend stopped visiting him because he thought he could 'catch' cancer. How sad is that statement? If we can change just one youth’s perception and knowledge about cancer, that alone means more to us than any awards. That shows that advertising and the power of ideas still exist," Anand said.

He added that some agencies tend to stay away when it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR). As such, Anand urges other agencies to start taking a closer look at CSR-related projects.

"The usual feedback you get is 'you must be doing this for awards.' All the scamming in this area of the world has put a bad taste in our mouths. The funny thing is now every agency is staying away from CSR. But there is so much we can do with the power of advertising, so much knowledge and help we can offer with the power of our ideas," he added.

Sharon Lee, director of strategic planning at NCSM agreed and added the organisation is bringing its 50 years’ worth of experience in educating, supporting and caring for patients to the project. This includes providing cancer statistics, verifying cancer facts, and lending its perspective on the journey of a cancer patient.

"This project from BBDO, by linking cancer with something that young people are keen to learn about, presents a great opportunity to raise their awareness in the youth community and empowers them in the battle against cancer," Lee added.

"We (BBDO) have so much more in store for CLLBR8, and we are only at the beginning." Anand told A+M.

Watch the trailer below: