Sylvester Cancer Center | Survivor Stories

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center asked if we could take portraits of cancer survivors to accompany some text-only stories they were posting to their Website.

When we heard their inspiring stories, and met these amazing people, we suggested to the folks at Sylvester that they may want to capture audio as well. And if we were going to hit a record button, why not go all the way and hit record on a video camera? Needless to say, the project quickly grew into a compilation video and four individual doc-style interviews that anchored an entire redesign and relaunch of the cancer center’s Website. 

The videos — a cross-section of patients and experiences — have been so successful, we’re recently shot the third round of survivor stories.


Sylvester Cancer Center TV Spots

When the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, a world-class facility affiliated with the University of Miami, wanted a new approach for its television spots, its agency, the Weinbach Group, came to Common Machine. 

The job: Compose a series of TV commercials reminding the South Florida marketplace that Sylvester, the preeminent cancer research facility in the region, should also be the first treatment option for anyone diagnosed with the disease — and do it in a way that didn’t rely on scare tactics, visuals of imposing machines, or other elements usually associated with medical advertising.      

Sylvester wanted six 30-second spots, each touting the benefits of a different treatment area: lung cancer, breast cancer, stem-cell transplantation, radiation oncology, Nanoknife technology, and “Ask for Ana,” Sylvester’s in-house patient services and counseling program. (Actually, there wanted seven commercials total, if you count the Spanish-language version of the “Ask for Ana” spot.) 

After consulting with our client and interviewing the researchers and doctors at Sylvester, we came up with a novel strategy: Place the specialists at Sylvester in a clean studio environment, have them tell us about the things that make Sylvester unique, but do it the way they might tell a neighbor — using a more conversational style, substituting analogies for medical jargon — then couple that with striking b-roll footage driving their main point home. 

The commercials began airing in the South Florida market in 2012.