February 6, 2023

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Cancer in the workplace—Publicis leads global initiative to fight stigma

Sadoun said he was initially astonished by the quick and fervent support from some of the largest employers in the world. 

“If those guys are capable of signing the pledge immediately it means that they’re already doing a lot of things for people with cancer, but people within their own company don’t know it,” Sadoun said. “We’re trying to tackle a very big challenge, which is the stigma of cancer in the workplace, with a pretty simple solution, which is only to change perception.”  

Holding companies IPG and Omnicom were also early supporters of the pledge, with Omnicom CEO John Wren responding to Sadoun’s email request almost immediately. “It took John only a minute to write me back and say they would be honored to have a part, which I thought says a lot,” Sadoun said. 

On World Cancer Day, Feb. 4, Working with Cancer is releasing a second campaign—this time aimed at the general public rather than employers—to encourage workplace support for colleagues with cancer. The campaign will feature out-of-home, partnerships with influencers and an additional TV spot. It will be backed by $100 million in donated media placement, including a promise of 100 billion reach impressions from Meta. 

Late last year, Sadoun used Publicis’ annual holiday video to help drive awareness around the human papillomavirus (HPV) and the fact that there is a vaccine. The holiday video, which as usual featured Sadoun and his predecessor Maurice Levy, included a cameo appearance from actor Michael Douglas, who has also suffered from HPV-related cancer. 


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