I Like Music
Electriclime gif
Contemplative Reptile
  • International Edition
  • USA Edition
  • UK Edition
  • Australian Edition
  • Canadian Edition
  • Irish Edition
  • German Edition
  • French Edition
  • Singapore Edition
  • Spanish edition
  • Polish edition
  • Indian Edition
  • Middle East edition
  • South African Edition

How Isobar Is Shaking Up the Stock Photo Industry & Empowering Cancer Sufferers at the Same Time

Behind the Work 473 Add to collection

Isobar Poland on beautiful stock photo campaign for Rak’n’Roll Win Your Life Foundation

How Isobar Is Shaking Up the Stock Photo Industry & Empowering Cancer Sufferers at the Same Time

Over 60 per cent of cancer sufferers actually go on to fully recover from the illness. But thanks to the light that the media portrays it in, many of us unfortunately view cancer almost as a death sentence. Isobar Poland ventured out to change that opinion in ‘Photos for Life’, a brilliantly executed campaign for the charity Rak’n’Roll Win Your Life Foundation. Isobar and Rak’n’Roll invited cancer sufferers and survivors from across Poland to partake in a photo shoot for stock photos, which were then uploaded to an online bank and are now available to purchase by anyone. When a photo is published, the credit includes an explanation and link to the Photos for Life site, and in tow is helping to break stereotypes around cancer. LBB’s Addison Capper chatted with the Isobar Poland team to find out more. 

It’s such a beautifully simple idea - what was the brief like that initially spurred it?

From the very beginning Rak’n’Roll foundation was a completely new quality in the oncological discourse. They are brave, irreverent and so much more than a mere go-between for money between donors and patients. Rak’n’Roll always communicated the message of hope. We were inspired by statistics - over 60 per cent of cancer patients cure completely. One would never imagine it, basing on how it is portrayed in mass media.


What key insights drove the campaign? In the case study video it mentions that there are still a lot of stereotypes around cancer in Poland. What are the problems and why do you think they’re still there?

The main reason is that we still think of cancer as a death sentence. People don’t want to get to close too cancer patients and don’t know how to behave around them. We, as a media industry, are also responsible for this state, because by displaying only the most shocking images we cover only a part of the truth. With fast diagnosis and proper treatment people not only win with cancer, but are also able to enjoy their life during the process. We want to make this message go viral!


How did you source people to feature in the photos?

There’s a real sense of a community around Rak’n’Roll. They were with with people they take care of in the beginnings of their illness, through their therapy process up to now, to help them share their stories. It was only natural to work with the patients from this community.


How did working on the campaign affect you personally?

We did some campaigns for charities in the past, but nothing had such an effect on us. One in four people in the world has a relative that is affected by cancer. A lot of people working on the project lost their close ones or were struggling with their illness at that very moment. So partly it was hard. And working so close with the models challenged our own superstitions that we weren’t aware of before the project.

But our personal problems quickly faded away after a few moments with these people and their genuine happiness and gratefulness for being alive. They really learn how to enjoy the small things and moments in life. We asked them what they had learned from their illness. And you know what was one of the answers? “To celebrate my birthdays”.

That’s revelatory. 


Who are you really aiming at with the campaign? What strategy is in place to hit them?

There are three levels we operate on. First, and the smallest in scale, is to empower the models. We portray them in a way reserved for professional advertising photography, showing them at their best. It’s an image that can motivate you and give a powerful message to your community. Second goal, on a slightly larger scale, is to raise money for the foundation. And on the massive scale we want to hack the media business model and use marketers’ advertising displays to prove the point of Rak’n'Roll foundation - that cancer is not a death sentence, and you can enjoy your life despite it. It’s a message of hope for cancer patients, their families and society in general.


Will Photos For Life continue evolving? 

We are constantly adding new photos. What we love about this platform most is that it can be continued for years, and photos already in the base won’t age that quickly. Photographers from all over the world want to do photo shoots for us, so we are sure that we will upload plenty of new material in the coming months.

We are also working on selling the photos to socially responsible corporate clients. One great recent example is Ikea, which used our photos in their stores as a part of room decorations. Being shown in a picture frame in the epitome of normality - one couldn’t come up with a better example of social acceptance. The other example is Men’s Health Magazine who bought a photo of one of our models. It’s fantastic that a magazine which sets the standard in staying fit and sexy is not afraid to promote people struggling with cancer!


What were the trickiest components and how did you overcome them?

Working in advertising is like doing scientific research while riding a rollercoaster. You start a new project on a topic that you know virtually nothing about, you have to pack a lot of obscure data into an exciting conclusion and try to work out processes no one in the agency has ever done before while riding down at a speed of 150mph. That’s why we started our careers in advertising in the first place.

Creating a photo stock from scratch with a completely new business model and payment system can sometimes be challenging. Fortunately, our friends at ShootMe did a wonderful job during the photo sessions. Rak’n’Roll foundation gave us a a powerful strategy and helped contacting the models. They were fantastic, inspiring and professional. Isobar Poland is one of the most innovative agencies in the world so we were covered in the field of technology and development. And the most important factor - our creative director Maciej Nowicki saw the potential of Photos for Life from the very beginning and encouraged us to make it even bigger.

There are so many people who made this possible. Thank you.

Check out Photos for Life at
view more - Behind the Work
Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.

Categories: Charity, Corporate, Social and PSAs

Dentsu Creative UK, Mon, 22 Dec 2014 11:41:24 GMT