Charity ad shocks the UK: “I wish my son had cancer.”

Alex Smith's 6 year old son, Harrison, has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy which is a degenerative condition that will kill him slowly and painfully, probably before he’s 20.

The agency Ais London had a number of ideas on the table but with a non-existent budget and a big ambition they knew they needed an idea that would be bigger than a bit of borrowed media space. Credit to Alex, he went for the strongest, hardest-to-buy concept and has been absolutely unwavering throughout. The press ad (see above) ran in the London Evening Standard and The Independent earlier this week.

The agency also works with Coppafeel (a cancer charity aimed at promoting awareness of breast cancer in younger women) on a pro-bono basis and understands all too well what a nasty, destructive disease cancer can be. Ultimately though, this headline encapsulates how Alex and the parents of other sufferers of terminal diseases feel. It's the truth. And the truth can be the most shocking and powerful thing you can say.

The ad has attracted so much attention that Alex was invited to interview on ITV News. Take a look at what he had to say.


Jaap Grolleman's picture
Jaap Grolleman
Activity Score 6992

I think it's silly to compare that disease with cancer - I suppose it works for them but it's not getting any sympathy from me.

Bob.C's picture
Activity Score 1159

When you're going through one hell I'm sure other hells must look better. Disagree with Jaap on the sympathy sufferers/families of rare conditions have my total sympathy they're extremely desperate and the hard hitting ad shows their frustration. This is one of the rare occasions where shock is probably effective .

MindDrift's picture
Activity Score 1170

It's impossible to ignore the copy, after having read this headline. Great ad.