Breaking the taboos: case study 2 - erectile disfunction

NHS health checks - 'Make your Valentine's day all it could be' NHS Blackburn and Darwen Borough Council teamed up to promote the introduction of checks for erectile dysfunction as part of the free NHS health checks. Around 40 per cent of men over the age of 40 suffer with erectile dysfunction but many do not know it can be a sign of something more serious. It is linked to issues including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological disorders and conditions affecting hormones.

Make Your Valentine's Day All It Could Be
Make Your Valentine's Day All It Could Be

How We Did It: Faye Adams, PR officer, Darwen Borough Council/NHS Blackburn

Faye Adams

How did you approach the brief?

We decided that there were two main messages we wanted to get across: that ignoring the issue could potentially have serious consequences; and that help was available. We decided to tie it in with Valentine's Day and make the promotion light-hearted while taking advantage of the increased media focus on relationships. Our strap line was 'make your Valentines day all it could be'. The main challenge was to encourage people to act without scaring them.

How did you interest journalists?

Reporters are always looking for new angles on special days and Valentine's Day is no different, so they were very positive about the story. We also had the advantage that they might not have expected such a bold approach from a council and NHS comms team.

What were the results of the campaign?

We achieved local press coverage and in-house publicity at the council, local firms and partners. The uptake of health checks has increased since we began promoting them.

What advice do you have for other PROs with similar products to pitch?

Don't feel you need to play it safe. If something is an embarrassing issue then run with it. Humour tends to take the sting out of most embarrassing issues so embrace it.

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