ATLANTA: In a major departure from its past efforts towards cancer prevention and awareness, the American Cancer Society (ACS) launched a campaign dedicated solely on the topic of access to healthcare.
The decision to shift resources to engage the public about access will include a significant PR component: up to $1 million spent on the effort, according to Greg Donaldson, national VP of corporate communications for ACS. The group has led efforts in-house, with support from its national AOR Porter Novelli, as well as the ad*itive.
The campaign kicks off Monday with a Washington event at the National Press Club, and will include a large ad buy, though Donaldson said the communications team is depending on an integrated communications approach to ensure a successful effort.
“Whether it’s in public relations or media relations, whether it’s promotional activities, or whether it’s in advertising, as opposed to hearing with us about colon cancer screening or tobacco cessation, you’re going to hear from us about the need to get engaged on the topic of access to care,” Donaldson said. “And so we’re taking essentially all the resources we would normally spend on awareness and devoting them to this issue.”
In addition to media outreach, Donaldson said there was an effort to reach minority groups. The organization is non-partisan, and not providing policy solutions to the healthcare crisis. Instead, Donaldson says the goal is to create an environment where reform is possible.
“We’ve historically taken on the public health issues associated with cancer – prevention and early detection – but we’ve come to realize that people are suffering and dying needlessly from cancer at later stages,” Donaldson said. “What good is it for us to urge you to get a mammogram if you can’t get access to one or your insurance won’t pay for it?”
Donaldson said the team will also use a new media approach to help supplement the paid ads. A microsite will be added to the main Web site, educating visitors on the facts of the access problem in this country.