Setting the pace
James Argent from TOWIE smiles and closes his eyes as he crosses the Virgin London Marathon finish line

August 1, 2012


Cancer Research UK is the world's largest independent cancer research charity. Thousands of people take part in the Virgin London Marathon each year to raise funds for the charity.

The challenge

In 2012, over 1,500 people took part in the Virgin London Marathon to raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK. Runners of all ages and backgrounds, many with a personal reason for running for Cancer Research UK, aimed to raise an amazing £1.5 million for the charity. To ensure the success of this fundraising, year on year, the team needed to generate high levels of media coverage.

The strategy

  • Cancer Research UK’s national and regional PR teams promoted the charity’s Virgin London Marathon runners by placing their stories, both real life and celebrity, in national and regional media.
  • Through this promotion, they aimed to reach their target audience (ABC1 male and female running enthusiasts aged 18+) with information and key messages about the marathon and link the charity’s sports funding to its vital work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
  • Celebrity supporter Nell McAndrew was popular on the day and particularly strong in broadcast interviews.
  • Towie’s James Argent (‘Arg’) helped to secure widespread coverage in tabloid media running up to and following the event.

The results

  • 70 pieces of national print, broadcast and online coverage secured Highlights included BBC, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Daily Express, Metro online, Women’s Running, Good
  • Housekeeping, Closer, The Times, The Sunday Times, Hello!, Cosmopolitan, The Sun, Huffington Post, Yahoo!, Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness Magazine, Woman (Feelgood series) and Waitrose Weekend
  • Overall, 55 per cent of adults in the UK were exposed to coverage about Cancer Research UK’s Virgin London Marathon runners from January to July 2012
  • The main key message “Raising money for Cancer Research UK” was included in 89 per cent of articles.

Melissa was Senior PR Officer at Cancer Research UK from 2012 to 2014.

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“Mel is a fantastic PR. She joined my team and hit the ground running straight away, excelling in securing coverage, project management and client relations. She also offers sound advice on all things PR."

Kim Ireland
Former PR manager, Cancer Research UK

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