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Healthcare

The CDC’s Anti-Smoking Scare Tactics Prove Effective

When gentle persuasion and supportive encouragement fail to get the people you love to quit smoking, try shocking, terrifying, and disgusting them — it worked for the US government.

The first federally funded anti-smoking ad campaign hit the airwaves in the spring of 2012, followed by a second round this past spring. The effort left sugar-coating and consideration for the sqeamish in the dust by featuring graphic images and stories about real ex-smokers who had suffered paralysis, stroke, lung removal, heart attacks and limb amputations.

It seems that as much as people may not want to see such things, they really, really don’t want to experience them. New data released by the Centers for Disease Control show that an estimated 1.6 million Americans tried to quit and at least 100,000 likely succeeded as a direct result of the campaign’s scare tactics. The study also found that during the campaign, the CDC’s national toll-free quit line (1-800-QUIT-NOW) got 132% more calls and its website (www.smokefree.gov) attracted 500,000 more visitors than usual.

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After Public Outcry, Clear Channel Lifts Ban on Women’s Clinic Ads

Earlier this month, we told you that Clear Channel in Wichita, KS, had pulled ads for a local women’s clinic for violating “decency standards.” In response, women’s rights group Women, Action, & The Media (WAM) teamed up with the South Wind Women’s Center to create the #ChangeTheChannel campaign in order to insist that women’s health care is never indecent, and that everyone has the right to know where they can get medical care.  

Since the launch of the effort, many thousands of citizens in Wichita and across the country phoned, emailed and tweeted the Wichita Clear Channel office and Clear Channel’s corporate representatives, calling on the company to run the ads. Around 70,000 people signed petitions to the same effect.

In response to the national public outcry, Clear Channel officials met with representatives from the clinic on August 7, and promised to reconsider the ban on its ads. Then, yesterday, after a month-and-a-half of national pressure, Clear Channel officially reversed its decision to keep the ads off the air, and agreed to run them.

In light of Clear Channel’s decision, Jaclyn Friedman, Executive Director of WAM!, told PRNewser’s Elizabeth Mitchell via email: Read more

Don’t Count on BuzzFeed Sponsored Posts to Win the Millennials

The chattering classes were all abuzz yesterday about a sponsored post on everyone’s favorite site to visit for kitty pic listicles and condescending literary rants. (Wait, what?)

Here’s the story: In an amusingly blatant attempt to push its talking points to those young folks who will determine the future of politics in this country, conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation illustrated its distaste for the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, with BuzzFeed‘s trademark combination of one-liners and GIFs.

OMG CUTE LOL! But will it work?

We say meh. :-/

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Can Amy Poehler Sell Young People On The New Healthcare Law? President Obama Hopes So

President Obama is spending a lot of time this week focused on reaching out to different demographics in an attempt to get back to the business of advancing his plans. Today, he returned to the scene of his first big speech as a new Senator, Galesburg, IL’s Knox College, to talk about his economic program (preschool, new energy sources, and spending on infrastructure, for instance), the needs of the middle class, and raising the minimum wage. It was an hour-long speech that brought back the familiar Obama voice — earnest, determined, passionate.

On the healthcare front, the President is speaking with a different voice. Actually, it’s not his voice at all that you’ll hear. To reach younger Americans with information about the Affordable Care Act, he’s turning singer Jennifer Hudson, Amy Poehler, Kal Penn and other celebs to give voice to the benefits of the new law and the insurance exchanges that will open up on October 1. Read more

Johnson & Johnson Loves You Very, Very Much

After a 10-year hiatus, Johnson & Johnson is back in the brand identity game. A slew of recent recalls, law suits and bad press, have undermined J& J’s relationship with the public and the corporate juggernaut knows it’s time for some damage control. That’s why it is targeting the golden goose of emotional marketing: your family.

Even the most cynical realms of the public can’t resist the emotional pull of the love felt between a mother and her child, a grandfather and his granddaughter, a teacher and her students. It’s “Terms of Endearment” meets Benadryl to the sound of a lobotomized version of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N Roses for some dulled edge (or carefully calculated demographic appeal).

Anyone who grew up with Johnson & Johnson products—who didn’t?—has had a positive emotional connection with the brand since we were babies. From the comforting smell of baby powder to shampoo that doesn’t make you cry, we were raised by our moms and Johnson & Johnson products. Don’t underestimate the power of that deeply internalized association. It makes Facebook feel like a total disheveled stranger. Read more

Here’s an Excellent Cleveland Clinic Promo Video

We know that Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic earned its reputation as one of America’s best hospitals thanks to the tireless work of the many talented professionals on its staff — but there’s also a good bit of well-executed branding and PR at play. Case in point: this promotional video, released last month. A hospital is a relatively easy place to find touching stories of human perseverance in the face of adversity, but this is a real masterpiece in the “humanizing a brand” genre.

We’re not exactly sure who’s responsible for the video (though the Clinic hired Ketchum as its first AOR in 2012), but we think some credit needs to go to the institution’s communications team.

The PR lesson here: tell a story. In fact, tell several stories — especially if they’re as compelling as these.

Branding Win: Monistat Isn’t Afraid to Talk About Yeast Infections

When watching ads for “intimate” and “sanitary” products, you may notice a trend: while it’s perfectly OK to discuss erectile dysfunction and other problems exclusive to the male gender, distinctly feminine problems like menstruation, breast exams or the dreaded yeast infection don’t get a lot of attention. Ad and media execs tend to be “grossed out” and back away despite the fact that 3/4 of women experience candidiasis at some point in their lives–which means there’s a huge market for related products.

Here’s an example: each of the major networks refused to air this Ogilvy Kotex commercial because, according to Adweek, they just couldn’t handle the word “vagina.”

In this light, a recent survey sponsored by Monistat which found that most women still hold potentially serious misconceptions about these conditions makes more sense. So how can feminine health and hygiene brands truly connect and engage with audiences when big media says “we’d rather not?”

We recently had a chance to speak about the topic with Jennifer Moyer, VP of marketing for Monistat‘s parent brand Insight Pharmaceuticals, who had some very interesting insights.

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Whole Foods CEO Backtracks on Obama ‘Fascism’ Remark

Whole Foods CEO John MackeyWe know that a PR professional’s job often includes telling powerful people what to say–and when to say it. Today we feel fairly safe offering this little nugget of wisdom to every client: Unless you’re a left-wing Eastern European politician, never use the words “fascist” or “fascism” to describe your opponents, no matter who they may be. It’s never appropriate, and it always makes you look like an ass. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey recently learned that lesson.

Mackey stepped into the national health care debate back in 2009, when he penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing that President Obama‘s signature health care overhaul was a form of “socialism” that would ultimately lead to complete government control over our nation’s health care system.

Now he’s hitting the various media outlets to promote his book Conscious Capitalism, which apparently details the ways in which certain businesses (his own included, of course) make the world a better place without the interference of the big, bad government. While visiting NPR‘s “Morning Edition“, he turned his previous criticism on its head, arguing that:

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Update: Weber Shandwick to Promote Federal Insurance Exchanges

Earlier this week we posted on the deal that Ogilvy PR Worldwide signed to promote the new health insurance law in the state of California.

Now we have a piece of follow-up news: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has hired Weber Shandwick to “raise awareness” about the other state-based healthcare insurance exchanges–those that will be managed by the federal government.

Here’s the lowdown: these exchanges are essentially virtual marketplaces enabling citizens to compare and choose between competing providers’ plans, and they’re one of the central components of The Affordable Care Act, which requires states to create them by January 2013. In states that do not set up exchanges by that date, the federal government will create its own “federally facilitated” exchanges by default—and these are the exchanges to be promoted by Weber Shandwick.

Here’s the challenge: To date, only 13 states and the District of Columbia have agreed to manage their own exchanges.

This is a particularly big get for Shandwick, which was recently named PR News’s “Digital Firm of the Year” just after winning the title of “Global PR Firm of the Year” via The Holmes Report.

The future of the insurance exchange project will be interesting to say the least.

Healthcare Not Yet Mobile: PCs Still Dominate the Market

For all the talk of smartphones and tablets, you’d think every American plugs into an iPad after work each day and that millions of PCs currently sit in the corners of our homes gathering dust. Yet a recent survey conducted by Makovsky reveals that most Americans will stick with Old Reliable when it comes to their most significant expenditures: healthcare.

Despite the vast technological advances driving the evolution of healthcare around the world, healthcare communications remains a very traditional field. The message to PR pros operating in the industry is clear: Most patients prefer old-school human interactions—and tech tools will not necessarily win the day.

We have no doubt that, at some point in the relatively near future, medical research conducted via smartphone will be so easy and common that everyone from your little brother to your grandmother will wonder why they didn’t start doing it sooner. But the Americans who spend the most money on healthcare aren’t quite ready to make that leap just yet.

Here are some of the survey’s key findings: Read more

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