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Telling a very important story
Bowel Cancer NZ Awareness Campaign

A special friend of Q was diagnosed with bowel cancer at just 39 years old. Fortunately, she was one of the lucky ones to come out the other side. But that wasn’t the end of Chelsea’s cancer story.

She wanted to make a difference, and the result was the Never Too Young bowel cancer campaign, a raw, brave and very beautiful project. In 2019 this campaign also won the NZ PRINZ award for Marketing Communications and was a finalist in the TVNZ NZ Marketing Awards.

The details

Bowel cancer is not talked about in New Zealand.  Despite killing more New Zealanders than both breast and prostate cancer combined, awareness is very low, and it is not discussed.

Bowel cancer, traditionally an older person’s disease, is striking our young people in astounding rates.

The group of patients we engaged for this campaign had one thing in common, and that wass the slow rate of diagnosis.  Most younger people are not aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer, or that bowel cancer is a disease they could get. This leads to delays in going to the GP to seek help.

This nationwide campaign featured real, young New Zealanders who have had, or are still battling bowel cancer, to drive home the fact that bowel cancer can strike at any age.  Together with our photographer friend Lee Howell, we worked with the amazing group of people who feature across the entire campaign.


The campaign has been acknowledged by medical professionals and by BCNZ as an outstanding success in raising awareness of the rising incidence of bowel cancer in younger adults.  It reached hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders and spurred hundreds of people to get their symptoms checked, with a resulting spike in bowel cancer diagnoses.

The results were great than we ever expected:

  • Overall website visits increased from an average of 25,000 to over 70,000
  • 17,315 active post interactions across social platforms
  • Comments from surgeons that on an obviously spike in younger people being diagnosed as a direct result of the campaign
  • TV coverage on Seven Sharp and 15 in-depth media stories

Take a look behind the scenes of production, or read more about the Never Too Young campaign in our blog post here.