Theragenics taps third outdoor sports star for expanding DTC push

ATLANTA: Medical-device company Theragenics this week is expanding its first ever direct-to-consumer campaign, which was launched last year, to promote its less-invasive treatment for prostate cancer.

ATLANTA: Medical-device company Theragenics this week is expanding its first ever direct-to-consumer campaign, which was launched last year, to promote its less-invasive treatment for prostate cancer.

The company is working with the Haystack Group to educate men about TheraSeed, a device that delivers localized radiation to the prostate with a faster recovery time and fewer risks than surgery.

Theragenics is teaming up with ESPN's program series and professional bass angler Rick Clunn, who joins professional bull riders Owen Washburn and Lee Akin, in serving as a spokesman for the campaign.

Theragenics first reached out to bull riders because of their appeal to men over 40 in the US heartland, according to Theragenics CEO Christine Jacobs, who added that research ahead of the campaign found that men in that part of the US were less likely to be counseled about alternatives to surgery.

"You know there's a disparity of information - How do you get to them?" she said.

Theragenics this year has raised the campaign's budget to $3.3 million, a 10% increase, owing to the success of the bull-rider initiative.

Jacobs said that Clunn would help Theragenics "get out to some geographic areas where bull riding would not appeal."

The campaign will direct men to the company's 800-number, which is answered by nurses.

As a top-ranked African-American bull rider, Akin is also reaching out to minorities, who have a higher incidence of the disease.

"A lot of men, if they're diagnosed with prostate cancer, immediately think surgery is the only option," said Holly Cline, account supervisor at Haystack. "We just want them to know that [if they are diagnosed], they should do their homework."

The company will also use Clunn to promote "Fish With Your Dad" during prostate cancer awareness month.

A Haystack survey found that over the past two years the media has written 2.5 times as many articles on breast cancer, even though the diseases have similar incidences.

"It's a disease that men aren't comfortable talking about and the media doesn't report on it as much," Cline said.

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