CAMPAIGNS: Media Relations - Everyman to benefit from ICR's PR push

Client: The Institute of Cancer Research
PR Team: In-house
Campaign: Everyman Male Cancer Awareness Month 2002
Timescale: May - June
Budget: Around £10,000

The Everyman campaign launched five years ago in a bid to help raise awareness of testicular and prostate cancer and to boost fundraising for the UK's first dedicated male cancer research facility, the Everyman Centre.

Each year in June, attention is drawn to the Institute of Cancer Research's (ICR) campaign via Everyman male cancer awareness month and fundraising events.

Objectives

To raise awareness of the issues surrounding male cancers, not just among men, but also mothers, girlfriends and wives. To raise money for scientific research into testicular and prostate cancer at the Everyman Centre and position the centre as a leader in its field. To achieve regular coverage throughout June and raise the profile of fundraisers, such as national Go Mad Sports Day, using Everyman-themed T-shirts and the campaign badge, the Perkin.

Strategy and Plan

The ICR's four-strong in-house PR team started drawing up plans for Everyman month at the beginning of the year. The campaign kicked off at the end of May with a headline-generating press conference, focusing on the message that prostate cancer is set to overtake lung cancer in the next three to four years as the UK's most common form of cancer in men.

This led directly into the start of male cancer awareness month and coincided with the first instalment of a three-stage teaser ad campaign, featuring Frank Skinner stripping on a giant billboard in London.

Case studies were used to target media with young and old audiences, as prostate cancer tends to affect older men, while testicular cancer is more common among men aged between 20 to 35.

Media activity included feature articles placed in magazines and the national and regional press; interviews with celebrity endorsers; broadcast interviews with ICR head of fundraising Hugo Middlemass; and radio and TV phone-ins with ICR scientists.

Regional media relations focused around national fundraising event Go Mad Sports Day, which featured celebrities and sporting heroes. Perkin badges, T-shirts sold at Topman, posters and leaflets were used to increase visibility. More than 35,000 posters and leaflets were distributed up and down the country.

Measurement and Evaluation

Coverage started on day one of the campaign, with TV news channels (the BBC, GMTV, Channel 4, Sky News) and radio services (the Today programme, Radio 5 Live, The Jimmy Young Show, IRN and regional BBC) running prostate cancer stories.

Newspapers picked up the story the following day, with 34 local press articles (75 for the whole month) and coverage across all nationals.

In June, articles ran in publications such as Cosmopolitan, Woman, Gay Times and over-50s magazine Quicksilver.

Results

Journalists admit suffering from 'awareness-month fatigue', with even some of the more established charity months becoming obscured.

But the ICR has been praised for its media relations throughout the Everyman campaign, in particular for providing quick access to media-friendly case studies.

In terms of fundraising, more than £40,000 was raised from the sale of Topman T-shirts alone and the Institute says donations - still to be counted - continue to roll in.

The media coverage sparked off 1,000 calls for information on male cancer and website traffic rose 16 per cent from 153,955 hits last June to 172,728 this year.

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