'Waist-loss' website looks to health press

Most commercial diets and weight-loss services are designed for women. So, after seeing too many male patients suffer heart attacks or strokes before making a serious attempt to lose weight, Nottingham GP Dr Ian Campbell devised a ‘waist-loss’ programme for men.

Campaign Fatmanslim
Client Fatmanslim
PR team Ruder Finn
Timescale July-November 2005
Budget Pro Bono (Ruder Finn acted as 'unofficial adviser')


Waist-loss is preferred to weight loss because the risk of coronary heart disease increases when waist size is greater than 94cm/37 inches. The result was Fatmanslim – originally developed in 2001 as a boxed kit costing £84. Last year the programme was made available on the internet. Each week people who sign up can download an MP3 of Dr Campbell talking them through the plan, which largely consists of dietary and exercise advice.

Objectives
To encourage men to reduce their waistline by signing up to a 12-week programme at www.fatmanslim.com

Strategy and Plan
Because Ruder Finn was acting as unofficial adviser on a free basis, the agency could not afford to draw up a detailed strategy involving lots of man-hours. Instead it returned to publications which had been favourable to the product when it was released as a paid-for kit.
The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph,
the Daily Express and Daily Mirror had all written about the kit, as well as regionals including the Nottingham Evening Post (Dr Campbell's local paper), which ran the story several times. Simple press releases were sent to all of these titles, with the hope that they would return to the story.

Measurement and Evaluation
Since the waist-loss plan was posted on the internet, coverage has mostly been online. It gained coverage on websites such as E-health Insider and 50Connect, plus mentions in trade magazines Community Pharmacy and Chemist and Druggist.

The BBC Health web page also contained a link to Dr Campbell's site.

Results
Since the website was launched, Dr Campbell has been drafted in as a specialist adviser on the Sunday Mirror's sex and health pages.

Community Pharmacy acting editor Fiona Salvage saw the story online and passed on details to her editorial team for coverage in the magazine.

'It was perfect for a feature we were writing, even though a GP runs the site rather than a pharmacist,' she says. 'It's not overly commercial, is sensible and goal-oriented.

'Primary Care Trusts want pharmacists to be involved in six health-promotion campaigns a year, and men's health is one of the main ones.'

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