Mar 28, 2023

The award-winning partnership: AMA, EssenceMediacom and Cancer Research UK

At the end of last year AMA won the ‘Best Use of Audio’ award at the Digiday Marketing and Advertising Awards for our recent work with Cancer Research UK and Mediacom on the charity’s “Race for Life” advertising campaign. This was a highly rewarding partnership, but what exactly did it entail?  

The basics 

Cancer Research UK is the largest cancer charity in the world and has raised millions to both fund research and help those suffering from the disease. In fact, the “Race for Life” programme is the crown jewel in its fundraising events, with over 10,000 different race routes available across the UK.

Despite being a popular event, Cancer Research UK is always looking for more sign-ups. In order to increase the number of runners, the charity conducted its own research and found that runners were not willing to travel more than 10 miles to attend a race. Additionally, the research found that event sign-ups tended to over-index on female runners. As a result, it wanted to create a nationwide campaign that highlighted local races for its audience and drive more registrations within the charity’s key target audiences, whilst minimising media spend wastage. 

How we did it  

One of the biggest challenges for this campaign was how Cancer Research UK and Mediacom could take a national campaign and make the creative localised to their audience. And this is where AMA came in. 

We created a hyper-localised campaign that used postcode targeting to call out a listener’s local Race for Life. By recording ad variants in both male and female voices with regional accents it enabled the charity to match the gender and accent of the voice over to that of their audience, creating more resonance with the listener. This was done for 131 of Cancer Research UK’s priority races across the country and focussed on areas with high indexes of its key target audiences. 

Another challenge was how Cancer Research UK could create an ad with longevity as races come and go. As a result, the charity wanted to avoid wasting advertising money by promoting races that had already happened. Our product enabled scripts to be updated, even once the campaign was live which meant Cancer Research UK was able to promote the build-up to each individual race and switch out the creative once the race had been run. 


The campaign was a huge success and achieved all of Cancer Research’s objectives, with audio emerging as a particularly strong channel and providing strong uplifts versus the control group, according to research by Unmissbale.

Audio delivered a 100% increase in brand awareness (vs 26% for video and18% for display) and a 15% increase in participation intent (vs -6% for video or 3% for display). Sign up intent was 6x greater than the 2% benchmark for males aged 18-55 – the key audience that Cancer Research UK was trying to penetrate. Additionally, there was a reduction in wasted media spend of £634k across the campaign, which allowed 40% of the total budget to be reinvested into key race locations and any lower performing events.

We are incredibly proud of the opportunity to work with Cancer Research UK on such an important project and the overwhelming success of the campaign.

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