Scope of Good Practice
Chulabhorn Hospital Thailand believes that it’s in the business of giving hope to people. When people walk into the hospital, they are often filled with pain and despair. The hospital believes that all who walk through the doors need to always have hope in their lives, and the hospital does everything in its power to convert hope into reality by treating them. This belief inspired the creative for this campaign; it focused on turning a symptom of sickness into a symbol of hope for those who had already given up hope in their lives.
The Problem Addressed by the Campaign
In Thailand, cancer is perceived to be a disease with no hope. From the moment a person is diagnosed, others believe that this person is going to die and they give up on the person with cancer. This campaign aimed to tell people that there is still hope and that they should not “write off“ cancer patients because there is something that they can do. It also aimed to provide the same message to cancer patients. The team wanted patients to see that people still cared about them and that there was still hope. The objective was to raise awareness of the issue among the general population of Thailand, who turn a blind eye to cancer, and to raise inner hope for cancer patients to strengthen their beliefs and motivate them not to give up on life.
Cancer is the leading cause of death in Thailand and it increasingly affects the country's social and economic problems. Cancer treatments are hugely expensive and many cancer patients cannot afford to pay for the chemotherapy sessions. At Chulabhorn Hospital Thailand, less than two out of ten cancer patients can afford to pay for treatment. (According to the client’s brief.)
The strategy focused on the emotions that art evoke, seeing beauty, even in misery.
The team created an act that turned lost hair, a symptom of sickness, into a symbol of hope. It gathered lost hair from chemotherapy patients and used their hair to create original sculptures. These unique pieces of art became the basis of “Hair for Hope,” an exhibition featured at a prominent art gallery in Bangkok. Print, outdoor and a website helped to spread a message of hope to millions of people. The campaign raised public awareness of the plight of cancer patients struggling to survive and invited people to participate at the exhibition.
Every piece of the art sculptures displayed at the “Hair For Hope” exhibition was created by hand, using strands of hair from cancer patients at Chulabhorn Hospital as the main element. Each art piece also carried messages of living with new hope, creating emotional bonds between the attendees and those who were sick.
Over 65 million Thai people have heard this message of hope, which is about 97 percent of the whole population. All sculptures were sold, which generated enough funds to help 150 cancer patients at Chulabhorn Hospital receive proper medical treatment. The idea of Hair For Hope will now expand to other cities in the world in 2013, starting with Dubai, Incheon and Kuala Lamper.
Conclusions and Recommendations
This campaign was not only about raising money to help cancer patients; it was an act that helped to change the perspective of patients not to give up their hope to live.