Public Relations Awards

F*ck Cancer: How a PR Awards Winner's Campaign Reached 49 Million

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Mar 14, 2013 @ 01:16 PM

Yulu Public Relations Inc. in Vancouver, Canada, received the Gold Stevie® Award for Best Public Service PR Campaign in the PR awards categories of The 2012 International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition. (10 April is the early-bird entry deadline for the 2013 IBAs, take advantage of discounted entry fees for those entries submitted by 10 April, request your entry kit here. Interested in more PR categories? The Stevie Awards now manages the IPRA Golden World Awards, which will be accepting entries through 20 May.) Here we look at Yulu Communications award-winning work for the charity F*ck Cancer.

Melissa Orozco, Principal, Yulu Public Relations Inc. The communications awards winner, Yulu Public Relations Inc., was recognized by the IBAs for their media relations work with local charity F*ck Cancer’s international campaign titled “The Cancer Talk.”  On winning the award, Yulu’s co-founder Melissa Orozco commented: “When I lived in New York, PR agencies would battle tooth and nail for a Stevie award, so when we received the news that we had won gold, we were ecstatic.” She added: “Our work with F*ck Cancer has been extremely rewarding—and most of all, fun!”

Mission: To Start Talking
F*ck Cancer's objective is to put an end to late-stage cancer diagnosis by educating youth about early cancer detection. The ongoing mission has an ambitious, strong, and clear call-to-action: Empower Generation-Y (aka Millennials) to make a difference in fighting and educating people about cancer. The conversation begins at home with today's youth talking to their parents about early detection. Part of F*ck Cancer's mission through “The Cancer Talk” is to teach them how to get that conversation started.

In mid-2011, F*ck Cancer recruited Yulu PR to assist in promoting the organization’s mission to eliminate the stigma and barrier experienced when millennials attempted to talk with their parents about checking regularly for cancer. F*ck Cancer had already spent two years building and executing engaging campaigns aimed at educating youth on ways to broach the subject of cancer with their parents, but the conversation was still an uncomfortable one. The mission with this campaign was to find a way to get the conversation started in a new, more effective way.

Pay It Forward
Inspired by an experience many of us have been through—that awkward "sex talk" our parents had with us growing up—F*ck Cancer launched a campaign called “The Cancer Talk." The message we should be sharing with today's youth is: "Your parents took the time to have the ‘sex talk’ with you because they love you and want to keep you safe. Now it's your turn to pay it forward and have the 'cancer talk' with them, because you love them and want to keep them safe.”

Celebrity Ambassadors
To execute this campaign, Yulu and F*ck Cancer collaboratively established relationships with influential media and celebrities and had them share the story of when their parents had the “sex talk” with them. Many of the campaign's ambassadors were selected specifically for their popularity and influence among millennials. The stories these celebrity ambassadors recorded were personal and funny, and each video ended with the star bringing the attention back to the main message: "Pay it forward and have the 'cancer talk' with your parents!" These celebrity “Cancer Talk” videos can be viewed here.

Sixteen celebrity endorsement videos were created for the campaign. The video featuring One Tree Hill's Sophia Bush spread to more than 54 million people in under three weeks thanks to the power of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Bush's celebrity fan site.

Massive Success
Yulu’s main role in this stage of the campaign was to share these celebrities’ videos with influential media. To capitalize on the massive success generated by the digital media campaign, Yulu facilitated a national media tour for F*ck Cancer's CEO Yael Cohen. Yulu secured interviews and coverage with leading media outlets including CNN, The Wall Street Journal, VOGUE, Forbes, ELLE, TeenVOGUE, Fitness Magazine, Fast Company, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, and many more.

From the top-ten media hits alone (out of approximately 400 traceable articles and videos, and not including Twitter and Facebook impressions), the campaign was viewed, read, and listened to by an audience of more than 49,564,141 people.

Since the campaign launched in the summer of 2011, Yael has been recognized by The Globe and Mail in Canada as one of twelve people changing philanthropy, alongside Bill Gates and Bono; and she has been listed on Fast Company's Top-100 Creative Business People, all thanks to the organization's unique approach to starting this vital conversation.

About Melissa Orozco:
Melissa Orozco is the principal and co-founder of Vancouver-based PR agency Yulu Public Relations Inc. She co-founded Yulu PR in 2011 after nearly a decade of PR experience, including a five-year stint working at top PR agencies in New York City. F*ck Cancer was Yulu's first client. The firm has since grown from one to eight employees. A natural storyteller, Melissa developed a knack for media relations early in her career, and has garnered coverage for her clients in most major publications and outlets including CNN, The New York Times, The TODAY Show, and VOGUE.

About Yulu Communicatons:
Yulu Public Relations Inc. is a full-service public relations and digital media agency that works with brands to cultivate their stories and share them in a meaningful way. Its clients range from non-profits to real estate and lifestyle brands that are being featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Self, The New York Times, The LA Times, on CNN, Anderson, CTV, CBC and Global.

About F*ck Cancer:
F*ck Cancer is a Vancouver-based charity that seeks to put an end to late-stage cancer diagnosis by educating Generation Y (AKA Millennials) about early cancer detection though creative, engaging campaigns. 90 per cent of cancers are curable if caught in stage one. F*ck Cancer’s mission is to share this message with today’s youth; creating a generation of early cancer detection ambassadors. For more information, go to

Tags: communications awards, International business awards, PR awards, Melissa Orozco, Yulu Communications