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A breast screening awareness campaign created by a team of University of Ulster students has helped save lives across Northern Ireland.

Action Cancer used a series of eye-catching advertisements designed by six Ulster communication and design students in a national campaign launched in August.

The designs, which can be seen on billboards, newspapers and in bars and restaurants across Northern Ireland, feature screening  ‘ambassadors’ promoting the benefits of the charity’s free screening service for women who fall outside the age parameters of the NHS scheme.

Celina Stretz, Sean McCaffery, Dan Farnan, Jonathan Fleck, Coleen Fitzsimmons and Rachael Lusty were winners of the Publicity Association of Northern Ireland (PANI) and University of Ulster Workshop Competition.

The competition encourages students from the School of Communication and the School of Art and Design to develop collaborative advertising campaigns under the guidance of a local advertising agency. This year’s winning team were mentored by Navigator Blue.

The overwhelming success of the campaign has seen over 1,000 women contacting Action Cancer about the screenings and has led to the campaign being rolled out again as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Dougie King, Head of Fundraising and Communications at Action Cancer said: “Following the launch of the PANI campaign in August there was a noticeable increase of 30% in enquiries for breast screening appointments. With seven cancers detected on average in every 1,000 women screened this means that potentially seven women have been saved and hundreds more have been reassured.”

Dr Fiona McMahon, Lecturer in Advertising, School of Communication, said: “These students cleverly blended the rational motivation for availing of Actions Cancer’s free service with the positive feelings that would result. The acid test of how well any ad campaign has worked lies in the increased uptake of what is being promoted. The fact these students know that their campaign had such a remarkable effect is truly satisfying for all involved.”

Liam McComish, Course Director, BDes for Visual Communication, added: “The art direction and copywriting skills employed by the students as part of this campaign were carefully considered to communicate with the target demographic while reflecting Action Cancer’s visual branding. This has been a highly successful advertising initiative and these students should feel very proud to have helped saved lives by working with Action Cancer to promote this breast screening campaign.”