A renowned creative team, including a puppet-maker who has worked with the Muppets and the designer of ITV Digital's Monkey character, have donated their time and skills to produce a puppet-fronted awareness campaign for CLIC Sargent, the UK's leading cancer charity for children and young people.
High street retailer HMV, which has supported the charity since 2008, and its creative agency Libertine developed the campaign to help the charity raise awareness of the impact of childhood cancer, and the services it provides to support the whole family through treatment and beyond.
The campaign has kicked off with a 40-second advert that highlights the work of CLIC Sargent's play specialists, who use puppets and other play methods to make medical procedures such as radiotherapy less scary for younger children. The advertisement is currently being played at the hmvcurzon cinema in Wimbledon ahead of packed screenings of the acclaimed film The King's Speech.
The ad is written by renowned copywriter and author Rohan Candappa, directed by celebrated creative director Derek Hayes and produced by an award-winning team at Bare Films. The full-size puppet was designed by Scott Brooker, who created ITV Digital's Monkey; built by Janet Knechtel, who has worked with the Muppets; and animated and voiced by Mark Jefferis, who began puppeteering on Spitting Image and has also worked with the Jim Henson Company, Disney and CBBC.
John Wood, Managing Partner at Libertine says: “Charities often use hard-hitting images to raise awareness, but we wanted an approach that would engage people who are at the cinema to have a fun night out, but who might also be receptive to hearing about cancer and CLIC Sargent's work. Just like in real life, the puppet enables CLIC Sargent to talk about cancer in a less intimidating way and it will appeal to both children and adults.
Gennaro Castaldo, Head of Press & PR at hmv, adds: “CLIC Sargent makes a real difference to the lives of children and young people with cancer, but it relies on donations from the public, so raising awareness is vital for it to continue with its work. hmv is delighted to be able to use its contacts in the creative industry to help the charity in any way we can.”
The campaign will be supported by a national PR campaign across print, broadcast and social media, which will include a competition to name the lamb. CLIC Sargent is also exploring other opportunities for using the puppet in its awareness-raising, fundraising and in the delivery of its services.
Liz North, Director of Communications and Campaigning at CLIC Sargent says: “We are so grateful to hmv, Libertine and the rest of the creative team for their generous support in helping us raise awareness of the help we give to families who are affected by childhood cancer. Currently CLIC Sargent can only support two out of three children and young people diagnosed with cancer in the UK, but with the public's help we could be there for each and every one.”
CLIC Sargent has teams of care professionals including play specialists, nurses, social workers and youth development workers at 27 hospitals across the UK.
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About childhood cancer
Every day, 10 children and young people are told they have cancer and diagnosis usually comes as a shock. Treatment normally starts straight away and can last up to three years. Although survival rates are over 70%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children in the UK.
About CLIC Sargent
CLIC Sargent is the UK's leading cancer charity for children and young people. It provides clinical, practical and emotional support for young cancer patients and their families, from diagnosis onwards. For more information visit www.clicsargent.org.uk
Libertine is an integrated creative agency based in Soho, London. They are a Top 30 advertising agency working with a wide range of clients from breweries and retail to asset management. They have always loved working in the traditional channels of TV, Print and Radio but we are even more excited by the new channels: rich media advertising, branded content and social media. In fact, we are the only advertising agency that is also a Top 30 digital agency.
About puppet-maker, Janet Knechtel
Janet started out as a prop maker in Canadian theatre before moving to New York to run the props department at the Juilliard School. She is now based in London where she works as a puppet maker, costumer and fabricator for film, theatre and TV. She has worked on projects including Muppet Treasure Island, Muppet Christmas Carol, Fraggle Rock, Little Shop of Horrors and Fantastic Mr Fox.
About puppet designer, Scott Brooker
Scott spent thirteen years as head puppet-maker at Spitting Image and eight years working in association with Jim Henson's Creature Shop as a freelance designer/fabricator working on projects including the ITV Digital Monkey. As well as extensive theatre work, he has worked on films including Alice in Wonderland and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and on videos for bands including Genesis, Moby and Supergrass.
About puppeteer, Mark Jefferis
Mark worked in theatre, television and music for 20 years before he began puppeteering in 1990 for political satire show Spitting Image. He has worked for the Jim Henson company on films including Treasure Island and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, created characters for Disney and CBBC's ZingZillas, assisted by his daughter Matilda.
About creative director, Derek Hayes
Derek began his career at Lintas before moving to DMB&B and then to BDFM, where clients included Colmans and Whitbread. He joined Saatchi and Saatchi where he led European campaigns on British Airways, Oil of Olay and Samsung Worldwide, before moving to BDS Beechwood as Creative Director. Derek joined Libertine in 2000. His awards include British TV, Campaign Press and Andy Awards.
About copywriter, Rohan Candappa
Rohan spent 15 years in advertising before writing The Little Book of Stress, which sold over a million copies. He has since had a number of other books published, including Growing Old Disgracefully and University Challenged and has also written two short films for the BBC. Rohan joined Libertine as a senior copywriter in 2009.
About Bare Films
Bare Films is a busy production company with a strong production team and a talented roster of directors from all media disciplines. Run by Helen Hadfield and Clare Timms, Bare Films is all about great production values, award winning directors and giving clients the biggest bang for their buck. With over 80 years of production experience between the team, it can take a campaign from page to screen with a minimum of fuss and maximum effort.
Note to sub editors
Please note that the name 'CLIC Sargent' should not be abbreviated to CLIC, and that the word 'CLIC' should always appear in capitals, as above.