Lung Cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. Part of the reason the survival rate for lung cancer is the lowest is because it does not get caught early enough, and early detection is key to saving lives. In fact, if lung cancer is caught before it spreads, the likelihood of surviving 5 years or more after diagnosis improves to 60%.

Since 2017, the “Saved By The Scan” campaign has sought to raise awareness among current and former smokers about the importance of getting screened. Though about 14.2 million Americans are considered high-risk for lung cancer, only about 6% of those eligible are getting screened. This year, the American Lung Association once again partnered with Hill Holliday and the Ad Council to create a fresh and impactful public service campaign called “A Hope Story,” to encourage those who are eligible to get the low-dose CT scan.

New Partners and New Ideas

When first brainstorming the direction of this campaign, the team wanted to make sure to speak to their primary audience, former smokers. “We want to speak to former smokers by acknowledging how hard it was to quit and show that they have already done the most difficult part. Many of these people don’t get scanned because it has been 10 or 15 years since they smoked, so they don’t consider themselves to be at high risk. This is why they need to be reminded they are still at risk and need to talk to their doctor about a CT scan,” Joanie Golden said.

This is the main concept, as “A Hope Story” follows the journey of a former smoker from the first time she picks up a cigarette, through breaking her addiction later in life and then, years later, her decision to get scanned. Representing so much in 60 seconds was a challenge. “We had to find the right balance between showing the tough quit journey but that they did it and went on to lead a full life, “Joanie said. So, to help streamline this story, award-winning creative studio Lobo was added to the project.

“We wanted it to create a mature visual style ad with a character that was relatable, believable and motivating. We decided on a hand painted feel, but we didn’t want it to look childish, so we worked closely to create animation that would appeal to our target audience.” This style allowed them to also set up smoking as a character itself, following her around until she was finally able to break free.

This carefree animation added to a sense of ease of getting the scan itself. The team was also very thoughtful about what music was used. They settled on something that was relatively upbeat, and complimented the unique, modern feel of the visuals. “We tried to show that the equipment isn’t scary. The scan is quick and easy, it only takes a few minutes, and is in fact almost routine at this point. So, we hope that it will encourage former smokers to talk to their doctors,“ Joanie said. “We want people to see that getting scanned is worth it.”

The Main Message

Like many Americans, Joanie knows firsthand the toll that cancer can take on a family. That is why she has been eager to work on the “Saved by the Scan” campaign since its inception. “I remember getting a letter from a woman who caught her cancer early on and it saved her life that first year,” she said. Stories like that are why the American Lung Association and Hill Holiday will continue to spread the word, in hopes of reducing the lung cancer death rate. Since that first ad launched, over 775,000 Americans have taken the “Saved by the Scan” screening eligibility quiz. “Helping people understand the benefits of lung cancer screening is the number one goal. If we can save even one person, and encourage them to get screened, then it’s all worth it. It is very powerful.”

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