Kiwi celebs zip it for cancer

Following the success of last year’s ‘what word do you hate the most?‘ campaign, Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand (LBC) has now gone in the opposite direction by encouraging Kiwis to keep their Facebook lips pursed during Cancer Awareness Week.

Last year’s YouTube video campaign, which was fronted by Hillary Barry and Jeremy Corbett, featured a series of celebrities telling the camera which words made them feel most uncomfortable.

Georgie Hacket, spokesperson for LBC, said, “Last year’s campaign was a huge success. Our YouTube video had 74,000 views. It was shared 3220 times on Facebook. #Ihatetheword was the number one trending topic in Twitter, beating the iPhone 5 that had just been released. And our web traffic increased by 2,230 percent.”

This year’s video campaign, which has again been put together by .99, features 12 16-second videos of Jeremy Corbett, Paul Ego, Jay-Jay Feeney, Dom Harvey, Andy Hayden, Peter “The Mad Butcher” Leitch, Urzila Carlson, Hilary Barry, Toni Street and Peter Urlich silently staring at the camera. The black and white camera effect combines with eerie silence to create intrigue that encourages viewers to visit the specially created Silent Treatment website.

In contrast to last year’s campaign that depended solely on video sharing, this year’s instalment invites website visitors to join the silence via a Facebook app.

Hacket says, “This is our first foray into large apps, and we’re excited to see how it goes.”

Once users sign up for the Facebook app, they will be timed to see how long they can refrain from posting, commenting or liking anything on Facebook during Blood Cancer Awareness Week, which runs from 4 to 10 November. While signed up, app users can choose to break the silence at anytime, thereby stopping the clock, or they can continue until Sunday, at which point LBC will break the silence on their behalf.   

A release from LBC said, “At the end of the week (or earlier if they can’t resist the temptation) the silence will be broken and we’ll see just how much time New Zealanders have given to support this cause and how wide the awareness of blood cancers has spread.”

In addition to giving their time in silence, Kiwis will also be able to make monetary contributions via the app, but this is not mandatory.  

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