PR WEEK AWARDS 2001: Campaign - Healthcare Campaign of the Year 2001. Sponsored by GCI Healthcare




Shandwick Public Affairs with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association - The Healthy Competition Campaign

The use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes has threatened to diminish the sponsorship value of sporting events, including the Olympic Games. 'Doping' is also a serious public health issue.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), the official health insurer of the Olympics, decided to tackle the problem head-on: BCBSA worked with Shandwick Public Affairs to create a non-profit organization that would act as umbrella group for all efforts addressing this problem, as well as serving as a watchdog over the issue.

The result was the Healthy Competition Foundation, through which Shandwick launched a PR campaign to motivate Olympic organizers to enact policy reforms to prevent the spread of doping. The campaign was also designed to discourage athletes from taking performance-enhancing drugs. Athletes were urged to sign a pledge that they would compete drug-free. A PSA and campaign brochure provided information on the negative impact of doping.

Among other efforts, the campaign recruited an 'army of advocates' from the ranks of medical experts, professional and amateur athletes, coaches, parents and organizations such as USA Swimming, the American Medical Athletic Association and Olympic Advocates Together Honorably (OATH).

To give literal and symbolic weight to the anti-doping message, advocates themselves pledged to remain drug-free. Six Olympic gold medalists joined the foundation's board of directors, including hurdler Edwin Moses and swimmer Donna de Varona.

The foundation developed a logo and turned it into a pin, patch and temporary tattoo saying 'Healthy Competition is Drug Free.' An educational brochure was developed and a Web site launched at 'Take the Pledge' events started in September 1999 and have continued across the country.

Media outlets such as USA Today, The Washington Post, ESPN Radio and ABC News have reported on its events since the Foundation campaign was launched in September 1999 in Washington DC. A PSA released on November 24, 1999 has aired more than 2,600 times, reaching some 44 million viewers.

Thousands of teenagers have taken the anti-doping pledge and the foundation has received more than 3,000 pledge cards. Two Major League Baseball players and an NFL coach have joined the foundation. When a photo of Sydney Olympic swimming gold medalist Megan Quann appeared in The New York Times, she was wearing a 'Healthy Competition is Drug Free' tattoo.

BCBSA was the only corporate group to testify in the US Senate about doping. And perhaps more important, the IOC and US Olympic Committee voted to support the creation of an independent agency to oversee athlete drug testing - one of the principal objectives of the Healthy Competition Campaign.


Edelman with Roche Pharmaceuticals - BMI Awareness Week: Know Your Number!

Nearly 100 million Americans are either overweight or obese. Edelman, working with Roche, manufacturer of the anti-obesity drug Xenical, devised an obesity awareness campaign called 'BMI Awareness Week: Know Your Number!' Its objectives were to establish body mass index (BMI) as a health 'vital sign,' and convince consumers to consult their physicians about treatment options, including Xenical. The American Academy of Family Physicians and the North American Association for the Study of Obesity joined as campaign partners, and two visiting nurse associations conducted 7,000 screenings. Media outreach generated 81 million impressions, and coverage on CBS, ABC and MSNBC.


Fleishman-Hillard with AstraZeneca - Two Strikes and You're In ... the Doctor's Office

AstraZeneca wanted a new marketing theme for Prilosec, its 10-year-old medication for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and retained Fleishman-Hillard. The campaign was designed to encourage chronic heartburn sufferers, especially men, to see a physician and to strengthen AstraZeneca sales reps' communications with customers. F-H retained baseball legend Jim Palmer - who has GERD - as a spokesman, and conducted educational dinners where he and a physician spoke about the condition and how to treat it. It also produced a series of Web casts on the issue. The campaign generated a quarter of a million media impressions.

Winner 2000: Porter Novelli with the Florida Office of Tobacco Control's 'Truth' campaign to discourage teenage smoking

The Award

The focus of this category is on products, services and organizations, from pharmaceutical and biotech concerns to HMOs and hospitals.

Finalists 2001

- Edelman with Roche Pharmaceuticals BMI Awareness Week - Know Your Number!

- Fleishman-Hillard with Knoll Pharmaceutical Company - Getting to the C.O.R.E. of Obesity

- Fleishman-Hillard with AstraZeneca - Two Strikes and You're In ... the Doctor's Office

- Garrett Yu Hussein with The Cancer Research Foundation of America - National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

- Shandwick Public Affairs with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association - The Healthy Competition Campaign


The healthcare industry has revolutionized our lives. We live longer, healthier and more productive lives than ever before. GCI Healthcare has paved new paths in the communication of innovation and achievement, and we are proud to now recognize this year's greatest achievement in healthcare communication.

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