The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is taking a bolder stance with its latest branding campaign and tagline, “Beating Cancer Is in Our Blood,” directed by Hollywood director Zack Snyder.

The campaign is focusing on the blood cancer advocacy group’s contributions to the development of treatments, said Andrew Coccari, chief product officer at the nonprofit.

“When you think about, in last 10 years, how many drug approvals and scientific pathways [were there] that we directed funding to and believed in before anyone in pharma or healthcare was really interested in?” Coccari said. “The idea was to lay plain what we have done in this great mission.”

The campaign, developed with agency Oberland, is running nationally via digital and TV PSAs and outdoor and print advertising. The nonprofit cast a wide net for this push, Coccari said, because it has many stakeholders.

The PSAs were directed by Snyder, who made 300 and Justice League, among other films. They show the before and after of people battling and beating cancer, such as one man going from lying in a hospital bed to lifting kettlebells at the gym, and a woman shaving her head because of chemo headbanging and playing the drums.


The PSA has been paired with more traditional personal stories from cancer survivors, like Myrrah, and a blood cancer researcher talking about their experiences fighting and researching cancer.


While planning the campaign, the marketing team identified 22 audiences, from physicians and patients to potential donors and industry opinion leaders.

“We want to make sure people don’t feel marginalized or lectured to, so our idea was keeping [the messaging] very simple,” Coccari said. “It’s different from other nonprofits. A lot of [other nonprofits’ campaigns are] about hope, it’s about the future. We want it to show leadership, but not be self-aggrandizing, and be bold, but not mean.”

The nonprofit is using the boldness to differentiate the campaign from other recent patient advocacy efforts, like the American Cancer Society’s rebrand last September. Nonprofits are pushing into marketing and branding, Coccari said, as they become more sophisticated.

“Traditionally, nonprofits don’t have really sophisticated marketing,” he explained. “The issue is that healthcare nonprofit space is very competitive. You can’t turn on a TV without seeing almost every single cancer center and national nonprofit advertising. This idea is really distilling what the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has brought to healthcare and cancer patients over the last 65 years and really trying to look at what our body of work has been versus other healthcare nonprofits.”