Thinkboxes January / February 2013 Winner: Macmillan’s 'Not alone' by VCCP

Macmillan Cancer Support wanted a campaign to inspire people to support the charity and help it to improve the lives of everyone with cancer.

One in four people in the UK diagnosed with cancer lacks support from friends and family, so the charity launched the ‘Not alone’ campaign to promote its services. 

The VCCP creative shows people being stunned by their cancer diagnosis and falling. However, before they strike the ground, they are caught by others around them, bringing to life the idea that, with support from Macmillan, no one needs to experience cancer alone.

This creative concept was the result of considerable research. Carly Wilson, head of integration and brand advertising at Macmillan, says: ‘It came out of a truth about how people feel, of not being able to keep up with what people are saying and not taking it all in, and then that feeling that you’re falling.’ 

While raising awareness and encouraging response, the charity needs to ensure it does not alienate those it supports.


This is a real step-change for us; we needed to go out there and be more compelling, braver and more powerful in what we do, to inspire a greater number of people to help us. We worked closely with the agency and research groups to make sure that we didn’t overstep the mark and really upset people.

Carly Wilson Head of Integration and Brand Advertising, Macmillan

Client Macmillan Cancer Support; Ad agency VCCP; Creative team Katie Welch, Neil Shanlin; Production RSA; Director Barney Cokeliss

Other ads on the podium

Virgin Atlantic: Flying in the face of ordinary (2nd)

  • Creative agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
  • Creative team Pip Bishop, Chris Hodgkiss
  • Clients Simon Lloyd, Breda Bubear, Hamish Rickman
  • Production company Partizan
  • Director Antoine Bardou-Jacquet

Kronenbourg 1664: A taste suprême (3rd)

  • Creative agency Ogilvy & Mather
  • Creative team Gerry Human, Paul Mason, Mark Harrison
  • Client Sam Fielding
  • Production company Stink
  • Director Ivan Zacharias

Also shortlisted

Anchor: The life of our kitchen

  • Creative agency CHI & Partners
  • Creative team Jonathan Burley, Micky Tudor, Jim Bolton
  • Client Louise Turnbull
  • Production company Blink
  • Director Tom Tagholm 

IKEA: Make room for your life

  • Creative agency Mother 
  • Creative Mother
  • Client Peter Wright
  • Production company Stink 
  • Director Adam Berg

A view from a Thinkbox Academy member on this month's picks


…the Macmillan spot hit me hard. Just what it’s designed to do, and hopefully it will bring money in fast.

Ben Priest Founder and CCO, adam&eveDDB

Click here to see who won the previous award

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