Impersonator Jon Culshaw has added some famous faces from the world of sport to his repertoire for the first time for a series of groundbreaking ads aimed at raising awareness of prostate cancer.
In three humorous ads - with a serious message - Culshaw appears by turns as football manager Harry Redknapp, racing pundit John McCririck and Italian sports journalist Tiziano Crudeli , in a bid to get men talking about the disease, which is the most common cancer in men in the UK.
The trio of innovative adverts, created by Prostate Cancer UK, use various betting scenarios including two spoofs of well-known Ladbrokes and Bet 365 ads to warn men, using their language, that the likelihood of getting the disease is 8:1.
These ads also feature footballing pundit Mark Bright and TV personality Tommy Walsh - committed supporters of Prostate Cancer UK - starring as themselves. The series, which has been developed to make men think about their health, are premiering today, and can be viewed during the Chelsea v Arsenal and Spurs v 'Man U' games and throughout the sports season on Sky Sports and ESPN.
Jon Culshaw said: "When I heard that the odds of getting prostate cancer were 8:1 I was shocked. I had very limited knowledge about the disease before I made these ads and I know there must be many people out there who are the same. If this publicity drive can shift prostate cancer up the agenda and encourage people to support Prostate Cancer UK I will be happy.
"This type of advert is a first for me and a great idea. I've never done impressions of Harry Redknapp, John McCririck and Tiziano before, so I hope they like it - and Mark Bright and Tommy Walsh were brilliant and very funny starring as themselves. I hope that using comedy in this way will prompt men to think twice and put a knowledge of prostate cancer in their minds for as and when they need it. I hope it will make men stop and think and realise that one day it could affect them, to maximise the chance of detecting it early."
Prostate cancer kills one man every hour and the number of men with the disease is rising at an alarming rate. While it is already the most common cancer in men, it is predicted to become the most common cancer of all in the UK by 2030. Not only that, but due to a prolonged period of neglect and underinvestment, diagnosis and treatment is still decades behind where they need to be. As Culshaw's Redknapp warns in the ads "I can do you prostate cancer at eight to one - that's your chances of getting it. With short odds on incontinence, impotence and full infertility."
Through this innovative advertising campaign Prostate Cancer UK plans to reach more than a third of all men over 45 through the familiar mediums of sport and comedy and start the conversations about their health that need to happen.
Former Premier League footballer and pundit Mark Bright says of his involvement in the adverts: "This is my first TV advert and it was great fun making it. Part of me wanted to laugh out loud when I saw it for the first time because it is funny, but prostate cancer is no laughing matter. Every man in the UK needs to know that prostate cancer is a risk as we get older - especially African Caribbean men like me. So let's get behind Prostate Cancer UK and kick this disease off the park once and for all."
The adverts - which also call for donations to the charity - coincide with Prostate Cancer UK's new campaign the Sledgehammer Fund fronted by comedian Bill Bailey which will run between January and the end of March. The aim of the Fund is to generate cash to support Prostate Cancer UK's ambitious work to increase research spend into the disease, as well as improve the support men receive through the delivery of world class services.
Owen Sharp, Chief Executive at Prostate Cancer UK, said: "Men are often all too knowledgeable about their football stats and know who they'd put their money on each week, but the short odds on prostate cancer just aren't on their radar and this is what must change. Men simply cannot continue taking a gamble on their health.
"We hope this set of ads can raise awareness of prostate cancer and get men talking by hitting them with something familiar - sport, comedy and betting. Thanks to Culshaw, Bright, Tommy Walsh and everyone else involved, we hope we can reach the men on the terraces, at the races and those having their weekly flutter, because we can't take our chances when it comes to this disease."
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You can view the adverts on the Sledgehammer campaign page.
Images of the adverts and Jon Culshaw, are available on request. Mark Bright and Tommy Walsh are also available for interview. Please contact the Prostate Cancer UK press office on 020 8222 7670 for further information.
The charity would like to thank Ladbrokes and Bet365 for giving permission for these adverts to be produced, and McCririck, Redknapp and Crudeli for giving permission for themselves to be impersonated.
The Sledgehammer Fund expects to reach up to 96 per cent of men and women aged over 45 across the UK. Men over this age are at an increased risk of the disease. The campaign will be alerting them to the fact that prostate cancer is an issue and informing them that Prostate Cancer UK is here for them.
The campaign has been launched hot on the heels of Prostate Cancer UK's MANifesto, which set out three clear aims, to invest £25 million in research over the next three years, and almost the same again in ground-breaking services, as well as pulling people together in a movement for change.
Prostate Cancer UK merged with Prostate Action in 2012, creating a single powerful voice for men with prostate cancer and benign prostate diseases.