Breaking the taboos: key tricks

Movember: using humour
Movember: using humour
Become the expert

Before phoning journalists, make sure you know the subject inside out and practise answering questions. The Prostate Cancer Charity's head of media and PR Vivienne Francis advises: 'Be relaxed about the subject matter and make sure you do your research. Take a factual straight-talking approach and you'll set the tone of the conversation.' Trinity PR's managing partner Jo Hudson, who works for Canesten, says her agency conducts small focus groups to find out from which media outlet audiences feel more comfortable seeking advice.

Humour

Some of the most successful campaigns use humour to break down barriers. Laughter can be a great way to reduce taboos, but ensure topics are approached in a sensitive manner. Movember, the annual charity event that asks men to grow moustaches throughout November, helps to raise awareness of prostate cancer. The Prostate Cancer Charity's Francis says Movember 'encourages men to talk about the subject in a quirky and non-threatening way. Using humour is a tried and tested way of getting men involved in an issue.'

Case studies

Case studies provide a human element to a story and can help people connect with a difficult issue. When Hatch Communications was asked to raise awareness of The Weightloss Surgery Group as a bariatric supplier, it had to challenge the stigma around the procedure. Account director James Hickman says the team concentrated heavily on real-life case studies. 'Because we were dealing with real-life people talking about a procedure rather than an actual product, the journalists were more open and willing to work with us,' he says. The campaign increased turnover at WLS by 50 per cent.

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