Case studies

Macmillan and Bauer Media

Driven by the power of Bauer Media’s brands and a multi-platform approach, this campaign created a bespoke partnership with Macmillan to drive awareness and highlight the services Macmillan has available. Through a variety of on-air, online and print creative editorial, we were able to communicate Macmillan’s message to a mass audience of adults over the age of 35.

The challenge

Macmillan’s 2016 Q4 primary campaign objectives were to educate a target audience aged 35+ on four key Macmillan services – information and support centres, financial support, the charity’s support line and its online community. Macmillan also wanted its emphasis to shift from showing the problem to highlighting the solution, driving home the positive impact of support.


Our Approach

We proposed that Absolute Radio and the Magic network lead the on-air campaign as both brands have large audiences of listeners over 35 (Absolute has 3million, Magic has 1.5). For print, Yours and Top Santé, with their average reader ages of 63 and 49 respectively, were the perfect partners for providing more in-depth information through advertorials and editorial content. Christian O’Connell, Absolute Radio’s breakfast show presenter, has personal links with the charity and is a strong supporter of its work, so integrating him into the campaign, along with a Magic presenter, allowed it to have credible endorsements. Bauer’s Charity Insight study also showed that emotive campaigns with abstract angles are the most effective for driving awareness, so we aimed to focus around real-life stories that could be embedded into the fabric of the editorial and provide relevant emotional content for Bauer consumers.


The Idea

Through a combination of on-air, print, online and social media content, we created a bespoke four-month partnership that communicated Macmillan’s messages to a mass audience of adults over 35. The campaign culminated in a Macmillan and Magic Presents event with Gregory Porter, exclusive to Magic listeners and guests, and an Absolute Radio Live Comedy Event with Macmillan Cancer Support. Presented by Christian O’Connell, this saw comedians Al Murray, Mark Watson, Zoe Lyons and Tom Allen performing. Every aspect of this event – from its conception to its on-air announcement to ticket sales – acted as a vehicle for us to communicate the range of Macmillan’s services. This was then supplemented by additional PR support in editorial, social and online coverage.



The campaign began with four bespoke spotlight audio features running across all day parts on Absolute Radio and Magic, with each covering one of the different Macmillan services. On both stations we focused on real-life Macmillan experiences through case study stories. In addition, Magic featured Macmillan professionals being interviewed by its weekend breakfast presenter, Harriet Scott. All of these drove listeners online to creative pages where they could find out more information, watch case study videos, get involved or donate. In a Bauer radio first, our Magic presenters introduced the spotlights in their shows, creating additional editorial integration and endorsement. These features were followed by on-air ticket promotions, combining trails and live reads, to give tickets away to the two events. Mentions of Macmillan were also organically built into the shows, with breakfast show presenters Christian and Ritchie discussing on-air their plans to have a Comedy Event to raise money and awareness of Macmillan.

Yours and Top Santé ran DPS advertorials focusing on Macmillan stories and experiences of the different range of Macmillan services. These were then followed up by advertorial columns.

At the events, Macmillan branding was executed throughout, with logos on external and internal screens, step-and-repeat boards and merchandise points. At Absolute Live, extra video content, featuring all the performers backstage, was also shown online against a step-and-repeat backdrop, with a number of on-stage Macmillan mentions. All profits from Absolute Radio’s ticket sales went to Macmillan Cancer Support.



Around 1 in 3

people wanted to mention the campaign to friends or family, helping to spread the message to others affected by cancer


of respondents in the post-wave agreed that the activity fitted in well with how they currently think about Macmillan.

"It’s been an absolute pleasure to be part of this partnership and to work with such a passionate and engaged team. We felt incredibly supported throughout this activity and appreciated the lengths the team went to to understand our brand and partnership objectives. It’s been such a rewarding experience and it’s been amazing to hear the reaction of the listeners and readers who have been so involved in making this partnership a success."

Charmaine MorrisMacmillan's Campaign Manager