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Social Media: The Importance of Being Aware

Social Media Officer, Hayley Devlin, discusses the importance of awareness days/weeks/months.

As a cancer charity, we see awareness days a lot. October, famously, is for Breast Cancer Awareness. In January, we have Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and in June it’s Cervical Screening Awareness Week. In November, it’s a triple whammy: Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Mouth Cancer Action Month and Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

Here’s an example of a Facebook post we ran for Lung Cancer Awareness Month: 


Our Social content calendar features a whole host of ‘awareness’ days and they’re not always cancer related. There’s Deaf Awareness Week in May, Random Act of Kindness day in February and (our personal favourite) World Emoji Day in July.

But why tie in some of these seemingly frivolous days with our content? Shouldn’t we be posting about different cancer types all the time anyway?

Social media is, essentially, just a big conversation. It’s a loud and busy one, and it’s easy for your voice to get lost in the crowd. Awareness days, weeks and months are great because they usually trend, making the conversations visible to people who might have otherwise missed it. As social gets more saturated, reaching new audiences organically (without any spend) is becoming increasingly difficult. The #AwarenessDays are great, because they’re a conversation that lots of people are already having, and present us with the opportunity to add in our two cents, reaching new people along the way.

Of course, cancer awareness days/weeks/months are particularly important to us. They give us an excellent springboard to create content we know will not only be relevant, but that people are also looking for. One of our top performing posts of the year came from Cervical Cancer Prevention Week in January. It had a staggering organic reach of 362,319, was shared 2,048 times and earned 5,115 likes. To put that into context, our top performing post this year was our tribute to Caroline Aherne. It had an organic reach of 549,909 people and earned 6,554 likes. It was also a video, which we know the Facebook algorithm still favours, so the fact that our cervical cancer awareness post did so well is a testament to how important they are. 

Here’s an example of a Cervical Cancer Prevention Week post:


On top of allowing us to showcase our cancer information and support services, the more ‘fun’ days are a chance for us to think more creatively. They give us the opportunity to showcase Macmillan using an angle we may not normally go for. For #WorldEmojiDay, we created a timeline out of emojis to help show how we’ve grown as an organisation since our beginnings. The World Emoji Day tweet had 38,477 impressions, which is more than double our average (average of about 13,000).

Our World Emoji Day Tweet:


On #WorldKindnessDay, we used a quote from the Not Alone Campaign and a tip from The Source to encourage people to share their own tips on the platform. We used #WorldHelloDay to introduce some of the experts we have on the Online Community. We’re always on the lookout for new awareness days to consider for our content planning.

Mind you, I don’t see us posting about International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day at any point soon!

To find out more about our awareness days/weeks/months, follow our Facebook and Twitter social media channels.


I’ve seen the signs!

When I’m on my way home changing trains at Oxford Circus, I like to imagine what it would be like if there were no signs. How lost could you get in those tunnels? It really drives home just how important good design (in particular signage) is. Knowing that I’m a real nerd about this sort of thing, people send me all sorts of great stuff. Cue Landor Associates and their fantastic wayfinding signage for Great Ormand Street hospital. It’s really practical, simple (needs to be for the kiddie-winks), and fun (scroll down to see all the pretty animals).


See yourself as a friend of Gromit?

To promote their new range of stamps the Royal Mail have a cheeky little device that allows you to design an Aardman, ‘Wallace and Gromit’ style character in your own likeness – that’s meant to be me on the right!

And then, my chums, you can enter to win a likeness of you and three others, handmade in the Aardman studios. Cracking competition Gromit.

Check it out here

The advice of a 52 year old ad hack

Brilliant site, great advice, made me laugh.
Check out more of his stuff here

Like a Virgin

The latest Virgin TV ad builds on their somewhat controversial ‘sexy 80s stewardesses’ ones from last year. This time they’ve pulled out all the stops and gone knowingly over the top. Think a James Bond title sequence crossed with the bowling dream sequence from The Big Lebowski.
Relationship to the actual reality of a Virgin flight: zero. But since when has reality played much of a role in air travel advertising, it’s all about aspiration and fantasy. Watch out for the humourous debunk at the end.

The Big Draw – lovely online game

Nice use of technology to support this year’s the Big Draw. Come on Creatives, let’s see what you’re made of! click here to play

The brand quiz

What makes up a brand?
Really fun game, if you’re into that sort of thing, EVERYONE SHOULD TRY THIS.
I scored a paltry 17 out of 21. Can you do better?
A fantastic prize to the winner. Post your score below. Try it out here.

Our tweets