Entertainment industry unites in cancer telethon

NEW YORK: The Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a nonprofit that draws on the entertainment sector, hired Ketchum to promote the recently announced September 5 broadcast of Stand Up to Cancer, an hour-long fundraising event set to air simultaneously on ABC, CBS, and NBC - a rare collaboration among the three major TV networks.

NEW YORK: The Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a nonprofit that draws on the entertainment sector, hired Ketchum to promote the recently announced September 5 broadcast of Stand Up to Cancer, an hour-long fundraising event set to air simultaneously on ABC, CBS, and NBC - a rare collaboration among the three major TV networks.

Network evening news anchors Charles Gibson, Katie Couric, and Brian Williams announced the
initiative during May 28 appearances on the networks' three morning shows. Internal PR divisions from the networks organized the appearances, network spokespeople told PRWeek.

The effort, using the tagline, "This is where the end of cancer begins," includes several elements, including online outreach, PSAs, and a partnership with Major League Baseball, according to Kathleen Lobb, VP at EIF. Overall it aims to reach a variety of consumers, but some features on a new Web site for the initiative, www.standup2cancer.org, were specifically created with young adults in mind, Lobb noted.

The site includes video segments on cancer research and a Facebook application that links users into a "cancer community" of affected individuals. Visitors can also donate $1 to create a memorial star for a loved one on the Web site's "Constellation" feature.

A series of TV, radio, and print PSAs for the telethon will feature celebrities like Keanu Reeves, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and violinist Itzhak Perlman.

Ketchum, which began work with EIF in April, is conducting outreach to national media outlets before the event, according to Nicholas Scibetta, Ketchum SVP and director of the agency's global media network. The effort's budget is undisclosed.

A number of entertainment, retail, media, and cancer-awareness groups are supporting EIF in the initiative, including AOL, Conde Nast, and The New York Times, among many others. For example, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), which will administer funds raised by the telethon under the direction of a scientific advisory committee, is conducting media outreach to medical and health reporters, and targeting consumers through its Web site (www.aacr.org) to raise awareness of the initiative, according to Staci Vernick Goldberg, AACR director of communications and PR.

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