Campaign: M&F raises awareness of lung disease in UK - Healthcare PR

Campaign: Lung White Book

Client: European Respiratory Society

PR team: Munro & Forster Comms

Timescale: April 2004

Budget: Around £5,000

In the face of political and public apathy towards non-smoking-related lung disease, Munro & Forster Communications was tasked by the European Respiratory Society (ERS) to launch its European Lung White Book. The publication provides an overview of respiratory illness in Europe, with facts and figures on the social and financial impact of lung disease. Objectives

To position the book as the definitive source of information about lung disease in the UK and Europe. To raise the profile of the ERS among MPs and increase the priority given to tackling lung disease by UK decision makers.

Strategy and Plan

M&F chose to launch the book with the statistic that the UK is ranked 44th out of 49 in Europe in terms of respiratory illness-related death rates. Other countries below the UK included Ireland and former Soviet republics, such as Kazakstan and Turkmenistan.

Fact sheets provided a condensed snapshot of lung disease in the UK and Europe, while an x-ray of a pair of badly diseased lungs was digitally coloured and juxtaposed with a pair of healthy lungs for visual impact.

The team also sourced case studies of people with lung disease and tested the story with The Times Body & Soul health writer Simon Crompton, who, a week before the launch, ran a double-page feature entitled 'Britain runs out of breath'.

Measurement and Evaluation

News items ran on BBC1, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky News, all of which - except BBC1 - featured interviews with lung specialists. The Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, Daily Mirror and Financial Times also carried the story.

Interviews with respiratory specialists featured on Radio 4's Today and 28 other stations. Further coverage appeared in key trade publications, such as GP, and 56 regional newspapers.

Results

The campaign to improve the state of lung disease in the UK has been taken up by a group of MPs.

Crompton highlights the winning tactic of being offered new and exclusive information for his paper, adding: 'The league table was a good peg on which to hang a serious issue.'

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