Sunday, September 17, 2023

Touching yourself


A viral campaign to raise attention to male cancer. By Ellen Widdup


It’s an advertising campaign fronted by a beautiful model, with more then three million hits on YouTube and a nomination for Cannes Festival – but until now it has not had a shred of publicity from the national press.


Rhian Sugden

The video, shot by renowned photographer and director Rankin, has been labeled the “boldest and most daring” cancer awareness drive to date.


It features blonde lingerie model Rhian Sugden in black underwear, suggestively running her hands up and down her body. But as the camera pans down viewers get more than they bargain for with a dramatic twist.


Without spoiling the surprise, Twitter users have branded the video “ballsy”, “akin the The Crying Game” and “the only way to get young men to sit up and pay attention”.


But despite the appreciation of social networking sites, the organisation behind the film claim it’s controversial content has so far failed to get the support it needs from the national press to change public perception.


Patrick Cox, chief executive at the male Cancer Awareness Charity (MCAC), said the aim of the one minute clip was to target young men all over the country.


“This is a video featuring a former page three girl who is bound to appeal to a lot of the 18 to 35-year-old men we are trying to speak to,” he said. “We thought it was also bound to get the attention of tabloid newspapers but incredibly none wanted to run a story.


“The whole point of the film is to shock. The whole point is to break down those boundaries, those embarrassments, that awkwardness. We are the charity with the biggest balls but also the biggest fears and pre-conceptions to overcome. This is the only was to get the message across to the young men who need to be warned. If a glamour model can’t get their attention, nobody can.”


The campaign – called Rhian Touches Herself – was this week added to the Cyber shortlist for the Festival For Creatives at Cannes alongside 18 other British nominations.


Miss Sugden, who hit the headlines two years ago after receiving flirtatious texts from married TV host Vernon Kay, said she was delighted that it had received the accolade.


“Too many men die of cancer because they don’t know how to detect the symptoms in the early stages, when treatment can be more effective,” she said.


“By helping to raise awareness and putting the word out there we are hoping to make a difference. A big difference.”


MCAC was set up in 2005 by Mr Cox, who had a testicular cancer scare in his early 30s. He added: “Rhian’s video is the fastest growing charity viral of all time. It is without doubt the boldest and most daring testicular cancer-awareness video ever. We are a daring charity and we are hugely proud of this important film.”


To watch the video visit:

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