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Brave the Shave Campaign


Macmillan Cancer Support



Since its launch in 2015, Brave the Shave has raised over £16.8 million for Macmillan Cancer Support. With thousands of people braving the shave last year, 89% of whom had a close friend or family member with a cancer diagnosis, Macmillan asked Hatched to take what is already a hugely successful ask and create a fresh and engaging campaign to spread the word even further.

Tying in with an overall brand refresh for Macmillan, we wanted to make sure every aspect of Brave the Shave was unified, inspiring and accessible. This meant rethinking how photography was used to capture the shaves themselves, how copy could create a cohesive journey from radio ads to envelopes and creating an advertising campaign that was both eye-catching and true to the heartfelt reasons behind people’s shaves.

Our campaign heroes the shaver, placing them in direct conversation with the audience, proud of their action, and uses a first-person personal motivation as a headline. This allows us to represent the event simply, in all its glory, and to celebrate the people taking part.

Connecting with future brave shavers through digital
Macmillan’s research indicated that the majority of Brave the Shave sign ups were now directed from digital advertising. Adverts ranged from engaging animated clippers moving across the screen to reveal copy to carousels revealing Sallie’s shave story.

Making the journey one to remember
From the minute they hear the thud of letters on the doormat and see a big, purple envelope, emblazoned with a bold illustration of clippers announcing ‘this is for you’, to when they receive their thank you pack complete with certificate and enamel badge, we wanted to bring excitement and joy to brave shavers’ journeys.

Being the first time Macmillan’s new brand guidelines were being used on print collateral, we wanted to ensure that we worked with the guidelines to create something as fresh and bold as the brand’s new vision.
\After people had braved the shave, we wanted to give them something that would both express Macmillan’s huge gratitude as well as something to keep forever. Therefore, our thank you pack includes a handwritten message from someone living with cancer – such as Hannah, who is living with leukaemia and has been helped by Macmillan – as well as a personalised certificate and even a small enamel badge that can be worn for years to come.

Photography to show real life and real motivations
With previous campaigns, we felt the personal and individual nature of each person’s shave was not coming across – and a lot of this was due to the shots being taken in a studio. Our new photography look and feel was genuine, relaxed and uplifting, which we achieved by shooting shavers in their own environments with natural light. Our photography was a mode of observation rather than setting the stage.

The headlines would be spoken directly from the subject of the portrait to the audience and would comprise the brave shaver’s dedication. The constant line ‘this is for’ created a link between all our posters and collateral.

My role in this project has included devising new, more direct, copy, working within Macmillan’s brand guidelines to create a print and online campaign to spread the word about Brave the Shave, as well as concepting and designing a welcome pack and t-shirt that will kick off peoples’ Brave the Shave journey.

Working with my creative director and a copy-writer, I led up the design of all Brave the Shave materials, as well as art directing photoshoots of people braving the shave.

Using heartfelt dedications, authentic photography and bold, colourful illustrations across multiple touch points the campaign gave the ask a presence that is both uplifting and engaging whilst staying true to the highly personal and often poignant reasons people choose to Brave the Shave.

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