Less Cancer, More Birthdays

“Imagine a world with more birthdays.” Everyone loves a birthday. Birthdays mean parties, presents, cake, maybe a few libations followed by the possible dancing, and just overall merriment. Birthdays celebrate life and represent another year in the world. It is pretty agreeable that birthdays insinuate a good thing and have an overall positive connotation. The American Cancer Society, which hosts Relay for Life-a walking event that is held across the nation and raises millions a year for cancer research and resources, has taken this phrase and integrated it into their marketing campaign to make people rally behind their cause. Now the phrase, “Imagine a world with more birthdays” has an even greater, even tear-jerking message. Imagine a world with less loved ones passing away from cancer and more people being able to be merry and on earth for another year.

As the designated “Official Sponsor of Birthdays” the American Cancer Society takes hold of the emotional appeal of connecting their cause to everyday life.  The American Cancer Society uses slogans such as “Happy Birthday is a victory song,”  “A world with less cancer is a world with more birthdays” and many others to very effectively draw people into raising funds for the events.  Connecting something scary, like the often terminal illness of cancer, to the happy annual event of celebrating a birthday, something that everyone has, is a very innovative way to put the American Cancer Society’s cause at a relatable level for all.  Everyone may not have cancer, but everyone has a birthday.

The fact that the American Cancer Society markets their events as a general celebration of life in general makes it appealing to those with cancer or those who have survived cancer because they are fighting and have fought to live and have more birthdays.  It also makes it appealing to those who haven’t had cancer because they get a chance to really celebrate, be grateful for their health, and the fact that they have been able to celebrate their birthdays without fear of them being shorthanded by cancer.  Finally, the message really digs emotionally when it comes to a person who has had a loved one pass away from cancer.  How amazing would it be to be able to celebrate one more birthday with that special person?


As a society, we understand that messages are being thrown every which way to try to get us to do something.  While the American Cancer Society could use a percentage or amount of money to help get people to support the cause of cancer prevention and awareness, instead they opt to display their organization as one that can bring an immense amount of hope to all audiences.  It’s safe to say the proof is in the pudding.  The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life had an astonishing 4 million participants and raises about 400 million dollars a year.  With a marketed identity of one that sponsors overall joy, the American Cancer Society has struck a chord causing a strong continued success that many charitable organizations long for.  Happy Birthday must be victory song after all.

– Alexandra HussCaroline MerrillAlyssa MorrelloLauren Van TrigtDann Williams