Researchers Don’t Need to Swing for the Fences in Stand Up to Cancer’s World Series PSA

Duncan Channon takes a different approach in 'Whatever It Takes'

- Credit by Stand Up to Cancer
Headshot of Erik Oster

Stand Up to Cancer’s latest campaign, part of the organization’s long-term partnership with Major League Baseball, seeks to grab your attention by playing on viewer expectations of clutch home runs, then opting instead to highlight a much less commonly celebrated part of the game.

The spot begins predictably enough, throwing viewers into a high-pressure situation via a series of MLB footage. “As we continue to swing for the fences,” the voiceover begins, “at Stand Up to Cancer, we know that any advancement can have a life-changing impact.”

Viewers expecting a big home run are then met, instead, with a safety squeeze, a play designed to bring home a run via a sacrifice hit—a humble strategy that can have a big impact in a close game. The approach highlights how cancer research is about much more than an attempt to find a cure for the disease and that less attention-grabbing advancements can make a large impact in patients’ lives.

The spot concludes by inviting viewers to “Stand up for the 16 million people living with cancer in the U.S. and Canada,” followed by the “Whatever It takes” tagline.

The “Whatever It Takes” PSA will air in-stadium at Houston’s Minute Maid Park and on broadcast this Saturday, Oct. 28 during Game Four of the World Series between the Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. Additionally, fans will continue a tradition dating back to 2011, participating in a “SU2C Placard Moment” at the conclusion of the fifth inning, holding up cards dedicated to those who have lost their lives to cancer or are currently fighting it. The campaign also includes English and Spanish language print components, as well as radio and digital components on donated platforms through the end of the World Series.

“We all know how it feels to anticipate ‘The Big Moment’—waiting for it, holding our breath for it. In baseball, it’s a home run in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, down by three. And in the world of cancer research, the Big Moment is the cure—game over, victory is finally ours,” Duncan Channon executive creative director Anne-Elisco-Lemme said in a statement.

“Yet SU2C knows winning more often comes from a thousand important, but less grandiose, breakthroughs—advances that give people a second chance at life in remission,” she added. “Using the unglamorous, yet tactically effective bunt as a twist was a surprising and relevant way to remind people that we’re making inspiring progress in the fight against cancer—you just have to know where to look.”


Client: Stand Up to Cancer

Agency: Duncan Channon
Anne Elisco-Lemme — Executive creative director
Marty Bonacorso — Associate creative director, writer
Melissa Ploysophon — Associate creative director, art director

Jamie Katz — Director of account management
Suzanne “Monty” Montgomery — Account supervisor
Sydney McComas — Account manager
Alicia Vartanian — Project manager

Keenan Hemje — Senior broadcast producer
Diana Courcier — Senior art buyer/producer
Scott Whipple — Studio designer

Cabin Editing Company
Scott Butzer — Editor
Carr Schilling — Managing Partner
Michelle Dorsch — Producer
Verdi Sevenhuysen — Flame Artist

One Union Recording
Matt Zipkin — Senior engineer

Songs for Film & T.V.
Mauricio Gasca — Music composer

Beach House
Mike Pethel — Colorist

Sean Murphy — Photographer

Spanish translation: Acento

@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.