‘Why can’t we stop cancer, Dad?’ asks boy in Cancer Council’s Christmas appeal

Cancer Council NSW’s Christmas Appeal campaign has launched, created by Spark Foundry, which won the account in May.

The campaign, which runs until the end of December and aims to drive donations, focuses on children’s curiosity, with a small boy in hospital asking his father questions like “Why is [Rudolph’s] nose red?”, “Why does Santa have white hair?” and “Why can’t we stop cancer, Dad?”

It’s an answer we should have, according to the campaign video, which ends with the powerful call to action: “No donation. No cure.”

Australia-wide, an estimated 804 children aged 0-14 years will be diagnosed with cancer this year, with around 101 deaths expected. There are no known ways to prevent cancer in children, since, unlike many adult cancers, it isn’t associated with lifestyle, so the incidence rates continue in line with population growth, the organisation said.

The agency’s creative lead, Paul Bosiger, said not knowing why children are still dying from cancer isn’t acceptable.

“Asking the question ‘why’ enabled us to highlight the unacceptable truth that we don’t have the answer,” Bosiger said.

“By putting the viewer in the impossible position parents are having to endure, we’re hoping to drive an emotional reaction to a very real problem.

“It also allows us to bring those affected into the conversation and underlines the importance for research aided by the tagline ‘No donation. No cure’, which leaves no confusion on the action required.”

The campaign will be digitally-led, supported by direct mail and TV.

“The Christmas Appeal is an important event in the Cancer Council NSW calendar. As a community-funded organisation, it is vital as it enables us to continue our life-saving cancer research,” the charity’s direct marketing unit manager, Joshua McNeil, said.

“This year, we have chosen to highlight that cancer does not discriminate – it can impact anyone, anywhere. In fact, childhood cancer kills more children than any other disease in Australia and there is currently no known way to prevent it.

“We’re grateful to Spark Foundry Australia for helping us visualise this and demonstrate the need for donations to fund research and, ultimately, save more lives.”


Client – Cancer Council NSW
Joshua McNeil, Direct Marketing Unit Manager
Cara Morrison, Marketing Manager – Loyalty
Christine Champion, Loyalty Specialist
Vanessa Szczesny, Marketing Coordinator – Loyalty
Grace Langford, Marketing Coordinator – Loyalty

Media and Creative Agency – Spark Foundry
Paul Bosiger, Creative Lead
Olia Krivtchoun, Head of CX
Josef Charlesworth, CX Director
Lia Robinson, Client Director
Lydia Kiternas, Client Planner
Caitlin O’Malley, Associate Director, Social Content
Gabby Silverstone, Senior Performance Executive
Lillian Teoh, Senior Performance Executive

Production – Chisel


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