Minorities targeted in new cancer awareness effort

NEW YORK: The American Cancer Society (ACS) has teamed up with the Ad Council to reach African-American and Hispanic/Latino audiences with messages about the prevention of colon cancer.

NEW YORK: The American Cancer Society (ACS) has teamed up with the Ad Council to reach African-American and Hispanic/Latino audiences with messages about the prevention of colon cancer.

The campaign stems from a series of PSAs - launched to coincide with Black History Month (February), and in time to air during National Colon Cancer Awareness Month (March) - featuring a fictional character known as Polyp Man.

Both the Ad Council and the ACS' in-house communications staffs will pitch the TV, radio, and print spots to general media and healthcare reporters.

Targeted outreach to African-American and Latino/Hispanic outlets will be done as well. Announcements for Hispanic audiences have been produced in both English and Spanish.

Greg Donaldson, national VP of corporate communications for the ACS, noted, "The effort is not exclusively centered on the PSAs because the Polyp character has superceded this campaign. The icon has become a platform for us to talk about the issue in more depth."

The ACS will also educate physician groups about encouraging patients to get tested for colon cancer. Outreach to public policymakers, in an attempt to get screenings covered by health insurance, is the final component of the effort.

The PSAs, produced pro bono by Campbell-Ewald, "capture a very serious issue in a non-threatening and humorous way," said Donaldson.

According to the ACS, African Americans have the highest death rate from colon cancer of any ethnic group. Similarly, Hispanics get tested least frequently, due to language and cultural barriers. Colon cancer, however, is 90% curable when diagnosed early.

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