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Prostate Screening Campaign Goes Glam

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, April 28, 2010

Hollywood glitz and glam are among the last things most people would associate with prostate cancer screenings. But that is no longer the case for Trenton, NJ, residents who have seen Capital Health's "Rolling Out the Red Carpet" prostate screening campaign, which won a silver award in the community relations category at the 2009 HealthLeaders Media Marketing Awards.

The 589-bed health system created the campaign to promote its new surgical technology—CyberKnife and da Vinci. Marketers decided that the original target audience of men living with prostate cancer was too small and wound not drive in the number of new procedures it needed. So Capital Health worked with Princeton, NJ, agency Princeton Partners Health to create a marketing strategy that targeted all men age 50 and older by launching a cancer screening campaign.

The campaign uses "screenings" as a play-on-words and consists of print, direct mail, outdoor, TV, and radio elements.

"The creative strategy was designed to make the topic of prostate cancer less clinical and fearful, and more approachable," marketers wrote on their entry form. "The creative invited men to attend the ‘biggest screening of their life' using a Hollywood red carpet premier theme. The goal in using t his theme was to associate our culture's fascination with the Hollywood scene with the importance of taking care of one's health through early screenings."

Capital Health also did a great deal of corresponding community outreach to support the media effort. Marketers handed out screening information at cultural and philanthropic events, train stations, and at local malls. Street teams also went to local shops, restaurants, Elks Clubs, and community theaters.

"This is a great theme for outreach to younger demographic to stay cancer free," wrote one judge. "Invitation to the Red Carpet is here and now and it really attracted attention."

The campaign resulted in hundreds of scheduled screenings after the initial six weeks and Capital Health marketers think it has set the health system up for long-term results and heightened awareness. Marketers view the effort as a turnkey campaign that can be leveraged for other community programs in the future.

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