Medco uses flashcast effort to support 'X Prize'

FRANKLIN LAKES, NJ: Medco is using Flash-based technology to educate consumers, the media, scientists, and other stakeholder groups about the "X Prize" initiative.

FRANKLIN LAKES, NJ: Medco is using Flash-based technology to educate consumers, the media, scientists, and other stakeholder groups about the “X Prize” initiative.

The Archon Genomics X Prize competition will award $10 million to the first team to rapidly, accurately, and economically sequence 100 entire human genomes to a new level of accuracy. The genomes will be donated by 100 centenarians from around the world. The goal of the initiative is to identify “rare genes” that protect against diseases, while giving researchers clues about health and longevity.

Developed by Medco's 10-year AOR Coyne PR, the digital flashcast campaign features audio and visual content from science journalist Miles O'Brien that consumers can navigate to obtain information about the competition.

“We really wanted to set the tone of this competition and the innovation behind the competition with a platform that was just as innovative,” said Ann Smith, senior director of public affairs at Medco.

The flashcast, available on the X Prize website, allows Medco to simplify complex subject matter for its audience, including information on genomes and genome sequencing, contest protocols, the history of the competition, and Medco's search for centenarians to be the subjects of genome sequencing.

“Sequencing the human genome is a little hard to grasp at first,” said Smith. “But we are able to compartmentalize the information and make it digestible and make it simple for people to understand by using subject-matter experts like we do.”

Medco will continue to use the flashcast technology until the contest takes place in January 2013.

Kevin Lamb, VP and director of the health practice at Coyne, said a perk of using flashcast technology is that it can be repurposed and redeployed with fresh information and content.

"Our strategy is to communicate about this X Prize program and Medco's involvement using very innovative communication methods," he said.

A future phase of the effort will support Medco's public search for its “100 over 100,” a group of centenarians whose genomes will be sequenced in 2013.  

Coyne will support Medco through the length of the competition. In addition to the flashcast, the agency is also using a digital asset center to provide the media with further information.

“Medco is all about making medicine smarter, and genomics is one of the big keys to smarter medicine of the future, so this seemed like it was a perfect match from a brand standpoint,” Lamb said.

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