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As the half a million people that tuned into #DrummondPuddleWatch will tell you, everything is more fascinating when viewed live. Now, Cancer Research UK has applied that logic to a live colonoscopy. The procedure was aired live during a TV ad break in an effort to make viewers face the reality of cancer.

‘Live from the Inside’ was a 90-second advert created by agency Anomaly as part of Cancer Research UK’s Right Now campaign. It aired twice on Channel 4 – once in the afternoon and once in the evening – showing viewers the removal of bowel polyps, which is a procedure that can prevent bowel cancer. It was performed and filmed at Cardiff and Vale University Hospital by Dr Sunil Dolwani, who explained what was going on during the broadcast.

Nothing holds an audience captive quite like live TV
Cancer Research UK (2017) ©

“Half of us at some stage of our lives will be diagnosed with cancer,” says Ed Aspel, executive director of fundraising and marketing for Cancer Research UK. “It’s important to break down barriers and taboos around cancer. We want to normalise the conversation around cancer so that people can talk about what they can do to reduce their chances of getting the disease.”

Much like the recent Assassin’s Creed advert 'Leap of Faith Live', which also aired live during an ad break on Channel 4, the Cancer Research UK spot harnesses emotions of shock and awe by showing viewers the usually unseen. By adding the thrill of a live broadcast, the spot also heightened the sense of authenticity and transparency – vital characteristics at a time when 47% of patients in the UK use the web to investigate a medical condition before seeing a doctor.

Katy Young is a Canvas8 behavioural analyst. She has a degree in American Studies and Film and an MA in Journalism. Her interests include wild swimming, thinking of podcast ideas and singing in an all-female choir.


23 Jan 17
2 min read

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