Client: Medical Research Council
PR team: In-house
Timescale: February 2010
The MRC PR team was asked to raise awareness for new research, part-funded by the MRC and the University of Liege, which was to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It looked at a patient presumed to be in a vegetative state for five years who could communicate 'yes' and 'no' using just his thoughts.
- To raise awareness of the research
- To raise the profile of the Medical Research Council and its funding
- To build the international reputation of the researchers, Dr Adrian Owen and Dr Martin Monti.
Strategy and plan
The PR team advised Owen to give the BBC an exclusive broadcast interview and invite medical correspondent Fergus Walsh to try out the scanning techniques used in the research. The team also targeted selected health, medical and news media with a press release and strong images, in addition to using the newswires such as Bloomberg. The press team organised interviews for selected US and UK media.
Measurement and evaluation
The BBC covered the story on TV and on its website. In total, 82 pieces of coverage were achieved, including in broadsheets, broadcast channels including Channel 4 and Sky, online, and in local and regional publications.
Further opportunities were generated for Owen including a potential feature on Panorama.