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Healthcare

The ALS ‘Ice Bucket’ Challenge: When Schtick Becomes a #PRWin for Charity

Lou Gehrig Speech

It is called Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and before the New York Yankees of the 1930s, no one really knew about this tragic disease that attacks the neurons in your brain that connect to the spinal cord. Even the top ALS advocacy group will tell you that:

ALS was first found in 1869 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, but it wasn’t until 1939 that Lou Gehrig brought national and international attention to the disease.

When the ‘Iron Horse’ got afflicted with the disease, ended his historic career in baseball, and gave what is easily one of the top three speeches of all time, ALS got a much-needed nickname — “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

The foundation got its own sort of kickstarter campaign as well. Awareness went up. Involvement went up. And donations went up. And now, decades later, we have people dunking themselves in ice water. To wit, I say, “Whatever works.”

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Mediabistro Course

Social Media 101

Social Media 101Get hands-on social media training in our online boot camp, Social Media 101! Starting September 4, social media and marketing experts will help you determine the social media sites that matter most to you, based on your personal and professional goals. Register now! 

INTERVIEW: Ellen Barry, New PR Brand Champion for LIVESTRONG

livestrong mantra

Last week, we brought you a story on the brand re-awakening of a known advocacy team based in Austin known as LIVESTRONG.

Oh sure, you may have heard about the place. And you may recall the tumult caused by its founder a few years back. However, when you think about an iconic yellow bracelet, does anyone consider the magnanimity this organization has done (even still)?

What about the more than $500 million it raised to date in the fight against cancer? DYK 82% of those funds have gone directly to support its programs and services for survivors? Its numerous programs and partnerships on behalf of cancer survivors? Nothing, huh?

This is precisely why LIVESTRONG CEO Doug Ulman has hired a stalwart for branding and perception management, Ms. Ellen Barry, executive vice president of strategic communications for LIVESTRONG.

And that’s why we reached out to her instantly and asked for an interview. Guess what? She’s after the jump… Read more

FDA Reveals Gender-Based Double Standard in Big Pharma Research

big pharmaQuick poll: Anyone take prescription drugs? Okay, while we count the waving sea of raised arms out there in PR land, the FDA will thank you. Now, for you women out there in that sea, guess what? Big Pharma research is sexist.

No, really. And the FDA just proved it.

A recent study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proves that a gender-based double standard exists when it comes to tracking the side-effects of popular prescription drugs.

What was that song about bad medicine again?

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LIVESTRONG Rides with PR for a New Horizon

nyp livestrong

A few things in this world have been marketed so seamlessly that consumers cannot think about one without the other.

There’s Disney and Mickey Mouse. Nike and Jordan (or Tiger). Volvo and Safety. Starbucks and Coffee. Susan G. Komen or Mary Kay and the color pink.

Branding is very successful when done right, which is why “staying true to the brand” is vital. And then there was LIVESTRONG. It was a global phenomenon because of an amazing story, a charismatic individual, and a yellow bracelet. Yeah, those were the days.

This week, the Austin-based cancer advocacy organization is looking to do it again with true PR strategy, but can they without … that guy?

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Illinois Like, Totally Hired The Onion to Promote Obamacare Enrollment

onion

No, that’s not a lame joke headline, but it does concern an interesting media strategy: Get Covered Illinois, the organization in charge of that state’s new insurance exchange, will run sponsored content produced by The Onion in the lead-up to the exchange’s March 31 enrollment deadline.

The campaign will include “online banner ads, a video, an editorial and a custom news section” complete with expected zingers like “Recently Insured Man Can’t Wait To Get Out There, Start Seriously Injuring Himself” and this one:

onion_adsPretty good content marketing case study. But will it work?

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CVS Quits Smoking, Gets Defensive About It

16601_10152165436598116_438158652_nThis morning’s biggest CSR news comes via the country’s largest pharmacy chain. As announced in this press release, CVS Caremark will stop selling all tobacco products at its more than 6,000 U.S. locations on October 1st, 2014.

The change comes in the wake of a January surgeon general’s report, which arrived exactly 50 years after the first and tied smoking even more directly to diseases like diabetes, colon cancer and erectile dysfunction (eek). The company spun it as a way of aligning its services and interests, which include public health—nice copy on the tagline, BTW. Here’s the key quote from CEO Larry J. Merlo:

 ”Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health. Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

This is a very smart move for several reasons.

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Twitter Is Your New Healthcare Customer Service Line

shutterstock_126278375

Have a great day—and don’t forget to @ us when you tell your 235 followers how much we suck!

The fact that many brands use Twitter for customer service is nothing new; we covered a few of the best feeds last year, and many of them were created strictly to engage with customers. If you check out our listicle you’ll notice that most of the ones we included were consumer brands like Nike, Xbox, Amazon, etc.

But today ProPublica posted a must-read story on how Twitter became the new go-to customer service tool for the healthcare industry—and we thought it worthy of debate.

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Hospital ER Nurses Knew This Was Going to Happen Someday

ER wait times

Um, Healthcare? Pick up the white courtesy phone.

Every had a terrible accident, or have a loved one call in the middle of the night with some horrifying news, and you had to rush over to the nearest hospital?

Almost every time this happens: people have to wait in the ER for hours.

Ofttimes, this wait makes what airplanes do on the tarmac while your smartphone battery depletes to nothing seem quick. The wait is awful. Sitting there with uncertainty about what lies ahead. No one seems to really care because you may as well be known as “number 84.” And from your perspective, there seems to no rush.

Surely, someone has said fuming with frustration, “This wait is killing me!” Whelp, it finally did… 

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Wolverine Posts A Skin Cancer Prevention Message to Instagram

hugh jackman cancerCampaigns that build awareness about prevention and research into a disease are usually elaborate and loud. And rightfully so. A good cause deserves lots of attention.

The pink ribbons that mark the fight against breast cancer are ubiquitous and, at this point, known by everyone. The yellow bands of the Livestrong organization not only drive support for the organization’s cause, but have become something of a fashion statement. And even without Jerry Lewis, the annual telethon to raise money to fight muscular dystrophy raised $61.5 million over Labor Day.

But perhaps all it takes is an Instagram from a superhero to spread the word.

Hugh Jackman, aka Wolverine aka yesssss, posted a photo with a bandage on his nose explaining that his wife Deb told him to get a spot checked. It turns out that it was basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer.

“Please don’t be foolish like me. Get yourself checked. And USE sunscreen!!!” he wrote in the accompanying note.

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And Now Obamacare is to Blame for Bad Driving

DOT_message“The scourge of healthcare,” “A death spiral for all Americans,” “The beginning of the end” and “Socialism’s entry into the USA.”

These have been in the news as lovingly euphemisms for the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “Obamacare.” It’s no secret the name, the idea and even the damn website isn’t exactly winning the White House many brownie points with the voting public.

And with this report via Forbes from the Manhattan Institute, we have another reason why people hate it: “In the average state, Obamacare will increase underlying premiums by 41 percent.” Makes so mad you could run someone off the road, huh?

Whelp, funny you say that…

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