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It Takes Balls

It Takes Balls


About this initiative

In Canada, an estimated 1,100 Canadian men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2017. While accounting for 1 out of every 100 cancers diagnosed in men, its impact among young men is significant, as it is the most common form of cancer in men aged 15 to 35. Despite its predominance amongst this group, testicular cancer awareness suffers from a major barrier: young men choosing not to talk to their doctor about their testicular health in the early treatable stages of the cancer because they are embarrassed by the subject. The challenge for this particular type of cancer is finding a way to break a deeply ingrained taboo. In short, get young men talking to their doctors as early as possible.

Testicular Cancer Canada has been striving to increase awareness of this form of cancer for many years and has partnered with Dentsu agencies in a pro bono capacity since 2014. The multi-award winning Furballs campaign, from DAN agency DentsuBos, increased testicular cancer awareness amongst Canadians by 24% while tripling the number of visits by men to their doctor for testicular health screenings. In 2016, the charity launched another bold campaign dubbed "The Balls Whisperer" (Or “L'homme qui murmurait aux oreilles des coquilles” in French).


In 2017, DAN agencies GRIP (creative), Amplifi (media) and Dentsu Aegis (PR) teamed up with Testicular Cancer Canada to launch a new movement-inspired campaign entitled #ItTakesBalls. Canadians were asked to share their most embarrassing stories, bringing attention to the fact that compared to many situations people can go through, talking to a doctor about testicular health is hardly embarrassing. All stories were aggregated on the dedicated website Through a social media push, influencers invited the general public to take part in the movement to destigmatize the conversation around testicular health.

The program kicked off across Canada for Testicular Cancer Awareness Month and featured 30-second social videos, OOH and online banners supplemented by TV and PR. Thanks to the collaborative effort by the Dentsu Aegis Network agencies on this pro bono initiative, the 2017 campaign resulted in over 150 million impressions across Canada and the US, while generating over 750,000 engagements in both social media and the Testicular Cancer Canada website, with educational information provided to over 9,200 Canadians.


“The unfortunate reality is too many men ignore testicular pain because it’s embarrassing to acknowledge," said Alexandre Désy, Executive Director and founding member at Testicular Cancer Canada, himself a testicular cancer survivor. “We wanted to destigmatize talking about your testicles, so we treated it like an embarrassment arms race. We achieved great earned media and engagement across the campaign with so many embarrassing stories shared.”