BlueCross coaches teen athletes on drug dangers

As a way to inform and protect the youth of Tennessee, as well as the people who influence them, from the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee teamed up with Katcher Vaughn & Bailey Public Relations in 2005 to launch the Healthy Competition: Real Winners Compete Drug-Free program.

As a way to inform and protect the youth of Tennessee, as well as the people who influence them, from the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee teamed up with Katcher Vaughn & Bailey Public Relations in 2005 to launch the Healthy Competition: Real Winners Compete Drug-Free program.

Strategy

BlueCross used its relationship with the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA), the governing body of middle and high school athletics, to reach primary audiences. "As more athletes are accused of using performance-enhancing substances, the need to educate teens on the health dangers of [PEDs], as well as healthy ways to gain a competitive advantage, only increases," says Gina Bever, BlueCross marketing communications consultant.

Tactics

The team utilized such tools as media relations, PSAs, educational materials, surveys, special events, and a DVD. BlueCross published articles about PEDs in TSSAA News and conducted ongoing surveys of coaches to establish their knowledge of PEDs and gauge perceived use of PEDs. It also distributed educational materials at two BlueCross-sponsored TSSAA events: the state football and state spring sports championships. Electronic media kits also were sent to reporters covering high school sports.

Results

Program evaluation surveys indicated that by the end of the 2005-2006 academic year, 86% of coaches were familiar with the program, 88% used some or all of the program materials, and 76% say they've noticed a change in athletes' and coaches' awareness.

Future

This year, the DVD will be promoted via the Web to provide additional access to it for the general public. Other tactics are currently still in the planning stages.

BlueCross BlueShield TN

PR team: BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (Chattanooga, TN) and Katcher Vaughn & Bailey Public Relations (Nashville, TN)

Campaign: Healthy Competition: Real Winners Compete Drug-Free

Duration: Spring 2005-ongoing

Budget: $142,000 to date

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