Cancer research UK makes every pound count with dynamic creative

personalized creative lifts cancer research uk fundraising

Using Choreograph Create, the organization increased participation across 110 events


Cancer Research UK




United Kingdom

product used



For it’s “Who will you Race for?” campaign, UK charity Cancer Research UK needed to deploy timed, geo-targeted ads to maximize participation in a series of charity runs. The organization partnered with Choreograph to use the Create platform, increasing participation in 110 events across the UK.


uplift in sign-up intent amongst male audience


in total media effeciencies


increase in awareness amongst core female 18-55 audience

our collective approach

“Who will you Race for?” gets to the heart of the matter. Those that pass from cancer leave behind grieving loved ones, and those who survive it are forever changed. Cancer is personal, and fighting for a cure requires a collaboration between the public and the research community, with personalized appeals for fundraising.

When the Race for Life organization, the fundraising effort of the Cancer Research of UK (CRUK), asks in its tag line, “Who will you Race for?”, it’s a call to arms that makes it personal.

For more than 30 years, Race for Life has organized hundreds of 3k, 5k, 10k, and Pretty Muddy obstacle races in cities and villages across the UK, raising £940 million for research. The bright pink race colors are a recognizable symbol of cancer research support.

Traditionally the events have been reserved for women participants, but in 2019 were opened to all to increase inclusion. After event cancellations due to Covid-19, CRUK sought to re-invigorate the Race for Life events and relaunch a Relay for Life event. Generic appeals and wide presentation of ads are costly and inefficient — unacceptable for an organization devoted to making every pound count toward finding a cure.

The results we achieved in this campaign exceeded our expectations. We were able to strategically reallocate our budget and reach our target audiences which helped us re-launch Relay for Life and raise vital funds for cancer research

Jo BrayHead of Brand and Marketing Strategy, Cancer Research UK

In 2022, using Create, an AI-enabled ad-targeting platform from Choreograph, Race for Life revolutionized charity campaigns, increasing participation in 110 targeted events by delivering highly-targeted, dynamic creative at scale.

“Charities have to vie for the attention of the public, just like any brand with huge budgets,” said Mark Read, CEO of WPP, parent company of Choreograph and other partner agencies who participated in the effort. “So it’s even more important that the Race for Life campaign spend is accurate and delivers measurable results.”

Research shows that most event participants live within a 10-mile radius of their local race, so timed geo-targeting of ads was required. For example, a huge race event in London’s Hyde Park in June attracts tens of thousands of runners, while similar events in Manchester are held in July. Ads for an event that had already transpired were irrelevant — a wasted spend. Runner demographics also needed to be taken in consideration, with a new emphasis on male runners.

Choreograph used the Create platform to customize ads for their geographies and only served them to consumers in the region prior to the event. Real-time analysis allowed Choreograph to spot underperforming events and adjust ad delivery accordingly.

With an omnichannel programmatic media campaign that included print, digital, outdoor, and connected TV boxes, the coalition of WPP agencies was able to present geographically-specific offers to targeted demographics and adhere to strict UK privacy policies and creative clearance processes.

Inspiring creative storytelling in the ads highlighted the personal relationships between cancer patients and race participants. When combined with demographic data around audience gender, age, activity-level, geography and other data points, the Create platform generated more than 1,000 unique ads. Timing was everything; once signups were closed for a specific race, the Create platform automatically stopped delivery and re-assigned spend to other events.

data-driven results

The campaign generated a 75 percent increase in engagement compared to benchmarks, and a 34 percent uplift in sales.

Demographic targeting increased participation and uplift, especially the targeted male profiles. An incredible three out of five people targeted were likely to sign up, leading to an efficiency in spend across the 110 race events in the 2022 race campaign.

“The results we achieved in this campaign exceeded our expectations,” said Jo Bray, Head of Brand and Marketing Strategy, Cancer Research UK. “We were able to strategically reallocate our budget and reach our target audiences, which helped us re-launch Relay for Life and raise vital funds for cancer research.”

6x uplift in sign-up intent among male audience

40 percent increase in awareness amongst core female 18-55 audience

£64k additional media efficiencies driven through tailored creative

£700K in total media efficiencies

Reinvestment of 40 percent of dedicated budget into future events and under-performing events

Two-thirds of those exposed to targeted ads took some action; 1 in 5 made a donation to CRUK

Omnichannel has demonstrated the potential to reach audiences wherever they are. The vast amount of opt-in data captured and maintained by brands also has potential value. When that data is combined with AI technologies to present tailored creative stories, the Create platform can change the industry, and within this context, change lives.

“The era of generic, one-size-fits-all ads is over,” Read said. “With the massive volumes of unique customer data at our fingertips and the power of AI-driven creative, there is simply no turning back on executing pinpoint campaigns.”

For Race for Life, the stakes couldn’t be higher. A more successful campaign means more race participants, and that means more funding for research. And more research means advancement towards treatments and cures. Just as important, the success of the Race for Life campaign gives cancer patients and those who love them a purpose — someone to race for — creating the sense of community and shared mission needed to keep up the fight against cancer.