The Danish Cancer Society in an informative multi-channel campaign

Client: Kræftens BekæmpelseTopics: Advertising and Films, NGO

Most Danes are familiar with The Danish Cancer Society and its awareness campaigns about smoking and sun-protection. But it was not until recently that the organization started focusing on weight issues.
But, do you know what the second biggest risk factor for cancer is? If not, you’re far from the only one. Given how few people know that being overweight is the second biggest risk factor for cancer, the Danish Cancer Society wanted to create a campaign to bring awareness to the issue. But while awareness is a step in the right direction, real progress comes via actionable solutions. Through a multi-channel campaign, we seized attention with far more than a few healthy recipes.

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Being overweight is one of the greatest social and health challenges of our time. In 2017, 51% of Danes were overweight and 17% were obese. Despite the stark numbers, very few are aware of how serious the situation is – which is exactly why action was required. The Danish Cancer Society therefore wished to develop a SoMe and PR campaign to inform the target group (men and women between 30-65 years) of their findings. The overall goal was to kickstart a dialogue that could eventually lead to behavioral and societal change.
The challenge was twofold. One: Only 5% of the Danes knew about the link between being overweight and cancer when asked independently, illustrating how serious lack of public awareness was. Two: given how sensitive the topic of weight is, communicating the negatives of being overweight had to be done in a careful manner.


After exploring several approaches and conducting various tests with the target group, we found the best angle is exactly what made the task so difficult: no matter what we said about the issue of being overweight, it was going to be an “ufedt budskab” (uncool message).

To convey the message, a four phase strategy was developed. In the first phase, a broad PR campaign was laucnhed to rouse media interest. Second, we focused on the causes of being overweight – emphasizing that it is not just about the individual, but a complex cultural, social and economic issues as well. In the third phase, we partnered up with the brave, relatable and well-known Dane – Anders W. Berthelsen. By showing that he is not as slim as he once was, he communicated that becoming overweight often occurs gradually and goes unnoticed over the course of several years. In the fourth, and last phase, we developed partnerships to prevent unhealthy weight gain by increasing the availability of and demand for food and beverages in smaller packages and portions.

Not only have we outperformed the ambitious KPI’s we set for the campaign, but we have – despite the sensitive and difficult topic – also seen a positive shift in attitude towards the Danish Cancer Society as an organization. Before the campaign, we did not dare hope for such great results with our first media campaign about obesity

Louise Kramer, Senior Project Manager, The Danish Cancer Society


Through a four phase divided campaign roll-out, we roused media interest and focused on the causes of being overweight – emphasising that it is not just about the individual, but a complex combination of social, cultural and economic issues as well.

Looking to data, the campaign had +5.000.000 impressions on SoME (paid and organic), it got +3.500 shares, +7.700 likes and more than 80% of Danes stated to like the film (KPI 55%). The campaign is argued to be relevant with a high “relevance” score amongst the audience and with 126 press releases during the active campaign period.
In continuation of the campaign, 18 partnerships have been established with the aim of preventing obesity by increasing the availability of and demand for food and beverages in smaller packages and portions. Partner companies include 7-Eleven, McDonald’s, COOP, De Samvirkende Købmænd, and more.