DDB & Rialto bring women to tears in remarkable breast cancer research

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DDB has taken Rialto Channel’s storyteller role to a new level with a groundbreaking research event that made the Kiwi audience itself part of the story.

While enjoying the emotional rollercoaster of the critically acclaimed romantic drama Brooklyn, cinemagoers in New Zealand also donated their tears to researchers pioneering a breakthrough breast cancer diagnosis device.

Ascendant Dx, an American research company on the cutting-edge of breast cancer detection technology, had discovered that tears could potentially be used to detect breast cancer with up to 90% accuracy.

Willing donors
But the research team needed willing donors whose tears will help the scientists conduct much needed experiments to refine the test.

Rialto Channel brought the power of film to the cause to help further the research, because nothing makes you cry like a good movie. So in partnership with Ascendant Dx and the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation they hosted The Breast Cancer Screenings, the cinema event that provided Ascendant Dx scientists the opportunity to collect the tears of around 400 New Zealand women over the course of three film screenings last week.

“We’re in the business of emotional journeys,” said Rialto Channel general manager Roger Wyllie.

Incredible research
“When the DDB team told us about this incredible research, we were so excited. We realised that our stories are producing an abundance of tears across the country — we’re the perfect partners to help this research come to fruition.”

LA-based Ascendant Dx founder/ceo Omid Moghadam says that the key to surviving breast cancer is early detection.

“A fast, accurate and inexpensive diagnostic test like ours could help save lives, in both advanced countries like New Zealand and the United States by making current breast cancer screening methods more efficient, and in the developing world where it can democratise breast cancer screening by giving women an option beyond a self-exam,” he says.

Crazy idea
Crazy“We’re so thankful to DDB NZ for connecting us with Rialto Channel and having this crazy idea that, through the power of film, you can bring two groups together from across the globe and make a real difference.”

DDB chief creative officer Damon Stapleton says the event took months of research and planning to pull off and also included a month of curated emotional films on Rialto Channel over the course of Breast Cancer Awareness month and an integrated campaign to invite women to the event.

“This was a big idea,” Stapleton says. “I mean, this really shows what happens when you have a big idea, a piece of magic, and you don’t say to yourself, ‘oh, this’ll never happen, let’s try something easier’.

“It was such a team effort from everybody involved – and there were a lot of people. Rialto Channel, Ascendant Dx, and the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation were invaluable in making this happen.

A beautiful thing
“And of course the team at DDB, who can go from reading esoteric medical research on an obscure website on some corner of the internet to bringing an incredible event like this to life. It’s a beautiful thing.”


Client: Rialto Channel
General Manager: Roger Wyllie
Marketing Executive: Natalie Crane
Partner: NZ Breast Cancer Foundation:
CEO: Van Henderson
Research and Communications Manager: Adèle Gautier
Partner: Ascendant Dx:
CEO: Omid Moghadam
Chief Scientist: Anna Daily
Senior Scientist: Linsday Rutherford
Executive Assistant: Jen Morio
Agency: DDB
Chief Creative Officer: Damon Stapleton
Executive Creative Director: Shane Bradnick
Creative Director: Brett Colliver
Creative Director: Mike Felix
Creative Director: James Connor
Creative Director: Christie Cooper
Art Director: Jake O’Driscoll
Copywriter: Sylvia Humphries
Lead Business Partner: Nikki McKelvie
Senior Business Manager: Demi Nielsen
Business Manager: Bella Macdonald
Studio Manager: Marcel de Ruiter
Print Producer: Julz Lane
Executive Producer: Judy Thompson
Agency Producer: Alva Casey
Agency Producer: Jane Mill
Editor: Steve Gulik
Editor: Mark Tretheway
Sound Engineer: Dan Partington
Digital Director: Liz Knox
Executive Digital Producer: Johannes Gertz
Head of Digital Design: Jason Vertongen
Digital Designer: David Kirschberg
PR: Mango
General Manager: Sean Brown
Account Manager: Max Burt
Illustrations: Minky Stapleton
Photography: Mat Baker
Retouching: Carl Baker
Presenter: Helene Ravlich
Voice: Francesca Rudkin, Lucy Wigmore

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