American Cancer Society names Weber Shandwick strategic comms AOR

The firm will work on a range of duties for the cancer-fighting nonprofit, including the annual Great American Smokeout.

The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life
The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life

WASHINGTON: The American Cancer Society has named Weber Shandwick as its strategic communications AOR, the organization said Thursday.

The agency won the account after a competitive review. Its global work on behalf of the nonprofit will include cancer education and services programs, and it will promote research discoveries and inform people about prevention and detection of lung, colon, and other cancers.

Weber will also promote the Great American Smokeout, an annual event held each November that encourages smokers to kick the habit or plan to quit smoking.

Agency staffers in New York and Atlanta will contribute to work led by the Washington, DC, office.

Raul Duany, SVP of corporate communications at the American Cancer Society, said the organization has undergone a transformation over the past two years, becoming more "centralized." He noted that Weber is the first AOR of its kind, and said the group has worked with other firms on a project basis.

In the past, the nonprofit had an AOR relationship most recently with Brodeur Partners and before that Porter Novelli. It has worked with Edelman and Hill+Knowlton Strategies, as well, said Duany.

Early this year, the Society also switched creative firms, moving its account from The Martin Agency to DDB Chicago.

Pam Jenkins, president of Powell Tate/Weber Shandwick, said the firm has worked with nonprofits and recognizes their challenges "reaching people on key issues and being able to find the right kinds of partnerships in ways that are really engaging, not just talking to people."

"We knew they were looking for a bold approach that could help them break through the clutter and engage people in new ways," she said.

Duany explained that while the American Cancer Society brand might resonate globally, consumers’ awareness can end there, and they might not be aware of its scope of services. The organization wanted to identify an agency that not only had a firm grasp on the healthcare sector, but one that could mobilize stakeholders and multicultural audiences, he added.

Financial terms of the account were not disclosed.

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