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The Drum dives deep into an unusual brand campaign that wants “men checking their balls every month” for Testicular Cancer NZ  by agency FCB NZ.

Whoever said that campaigns for diseases have to be morbid can cheer watching the Remundies campaign conceptualised by FCB NZ and produced in partnership with the innerwear brand Jockey, and Farmers, the well-known New Zealand mid-market department store chain.

The campaign commissioned by Testicular Cancer NZ is aimed at increasing awareness around testicular cancer, the most common form of cancer affecting men aged between 18 and 39. Testicular Cancer NZ is a part of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand, the sole charity leading the charge on male-specific cancers in the country.

The hero, in this case, is Remundies, a range of Jockey underwear that communicates with their owner regularly via text, reminding them to check for signs of the disease each month.

To make it a visual success and also to get more ‘eyeballs’, the campaign got the All Blacks and All Blacks Sevens (the New Zealand national rugby sevens team with many wins to their credit) to strip down to their Jockeys.

The campaign 

The unique brand challenge 

Campaigns around diseases have unique challenges. For instance, testicular cancer is lesser known than some other forms of cancers in NZ but it’s the most prevalent among 18–to 39-year-old men.  

Shares Paul Hayes, marketing and fundraising manager, Testicular Cancer NZ, “Our big challenges have always been raising awareness of the disease and educating people about the importance of early detection.” With the target audience being young males, they are quite a difficult audience to get the message across, with embarrassment acting as a big barrier. Fund-raising is another key challenge since it is a not-for-profit set up, Hayes adds.  

The solution to the problem: ‘Remundies’  

The brief was cracked by creating a constant reminder that lives beyond the campaign. Says Hayes, “Now every time an owner gets out of the shower and see their Remundies, it’ll remind them for a quick feel to make sure everything is as it should be, along with receiving some whacky monthly reminder messages”. The idea is to educate them on the signs of testicular cancer by doing a quick self-check after a warm shower by themselves. Plus, who knows their testes better than their owner, holds forth Hayes.

The various legs of the campaign

The campaign launched with the ‘All Blacks’ and ‘All Blacks Sevens’ creative along with various mediums including online video, out of home, social, alongside the 15-second and 30-second radio spots, PR and a Radio Hauraki breakfast promotion, giving away pairs of Remundies to listeners. The idea is to drive people to the website (remundies.co.nz) which has information around Remundies, to get them to sign up for those reminders, a how-to self-check video and other information, shares Hayes. 

“Creating a physical product that can live beyond the campaign period to remind the target audience to check up on themselves, was was key for us”, explain Peter Vegas and Leisa Wall, ECDs at FCB New Zealand who worked on this campaign.

This idea thus worked well for the organisation, as it did the dual task of generating awareness of cancer as well as providing a fund-raising opportunity with Jockey coming on board.

Stripping the rugby team to the basics

Jockey already has a sponsorship agreement with New Zealand Rugby, and thus launching this campaign with three ‘All Blacks’ and two ‘All Black Sevens’ stripped down to their Jockeys to introduce our new ball checking hero was a great fit, says Hayes. 

The tough part and the fun part of the risqué campaign 

According to Peter Vegas and Leisa Wall, “there have been loads of fun ads about men’s balls. What is hard is trying to create an idea that will result in real behaviour change – men checking their balls every month.”

And the fun part was also around the same part: “Sitting in the boardroom having serious discussions about men’s balls,” adds Vegas and Wall. Our goal is to have made an award-winning piece of work that also saves men's lives, they share.