Two Against One: Couples Battling Prostate Cancer
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Two Against One: Couples Battling Prostate Cancer

“Two Against One: Couples Battling Prostate Cancer” is a first-of-its-kind program designed to support spouses in finding prostate cancer resources and becoming advocates for their husbands in improving treatment choices and outcomes.

Paul Holmes

 

 

“Two Against One: Couples Battling Prostate Cancer” is a first-of-its-kind program designed to support spouses in finding prostate cancer resources and becoming advocates for their husbands in improving treatment choices and outcomes.  Driven by research results and an extraordinary advisory board of leading cancer advocacy groups and prominent oncologists and urologists, the initiative featured an educational booklet, Web site, video and toll-free hotline.  Through sponsorship from Amgen and Praecis Pharmaceuticals and with the endorsements of celebrity couples, this program provided a trigger to move the unmet needs in prostate cancer care into the national spotlight – creating advocacy for improvements.

PROGRAM CHALLENGE

Prepare a crowded and complacent prostate cancer market for Amgen and Praecis Pharmaceuticals’ entrance with a new treatment for the disease.

OBJECTIVES

Establish and position Amgen and Praecis Pharmaceuticals as leaders in prostate cancer care and education.

Generate awareness about unmet needs in prostate cancer care to create advocacy for improvements including new therapies.

Build a database of prostate cancer caregivers and patients for product-specific outreach post approval.

RESEARCH AND PLANNING

Conducted focus group sessions, one-on-one interviews and literature searches to identify unmet needs in prostate cancer care and learn how to best reach prostate cancer patients.

Secured an advisory board of prominent oncologists and urologists and prostate cancer groups (American Foundation for Urologic Disease and US TOO! International, Inc.) to confirm and prioritize unmet needs in prostate cancer care and guide development of innovative approaches to fulfilling them. 

Fielded a Roper Starch survey (random cross-section of 302 urologists, 307 men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer in the last 24 months, 151 men age 50 and older, and 133 women married to men age 50 and older) to validate needs and program premise.

Recruited well-known prostate cancer survivors (New York Yankees manager Joe Torre and his wife Ali; Elizabeth Dole, wife of former U.S. Senator Bob Dole; and “5th Dimension” singers Billy Davis, Jr. and wife Marilyn McCoo) to provide a testament for and guide development of the program.

STRATEGIC APPROACH

The research found that men aren’t communicating as well as they should with their physicians, so women are bridging this gap by playing a key role in their husband’s care.  In fact, physicians said they often get the “true story” of a patient’s progress from his spouse, and see wives playing a role in the treatment decision more often than men admit.

This role may explain study results showing that the emotional impact of the disease is even greater for wives of prostate cancer patients than for the patients themselves.   With this in mind, Amgen and Chandler Chicco engineered a program that would reach wives of prostate cancer patients to help them help themselves and their husbands better understand the disease. The program also redefined prostate cancer as a “couple’s disease” and encouraged couples to face it together.

CAMPAIGN EXECUTION

Development

Created “Two Against One: Couples Battling Prostate Cancer” program, which centralized a daunting array of information into a 68-page booklet and companion Web site (www.2against1.com) to help guide families through the trauma of diagnosis, treatment and beyond.

Included detailed information about what to expect when a loved one has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, personal reflections from spouses Ali Torre and Elizabeth Dole, and a complete directory of prostate cancer-related organizations and resources to turn to for more information.

Produced an educational video, “Not By Myself,” featuring Billy Davis, Jr. and Marilyn McCoo, another famous couple that has successfully faced prostate cancer. 

Established a toll-free hotline for anyone interested in “Two Against One” to order materials and register for future educational offerings. 

Announcement

Announced “Two Against One: Couples Battling Prostate Cancer” on the first day of Prostate Cancer Awareness Week (September 18, 2000).  Capitalized on this national awareness platform to create advocacy for improvements in prostate cancer care.  Program messages reached an audience of more than 70 million.

Highlighted the results of the Roper Starch survey to support the need for “Two Against One” in press materials and video and radio news releases. 

Conducted a broad media relations effort, pitching consumer reporters who cover health, medicine, sports and lifestyle/entertainment, as well as editors of online publications and medical trade publications.  An Associated Press article appeared in 122 local newspapers, and more than 90 Web sites covered the program.

Implemented a media strategy to offer exclusive interviews with Joe and Ali Torre to national television outlets in weeks leading up to the announcement to ensure that media coverage appeared on the first day of Prostate Cancer Awareness Week.  Secured in-studio interviews on “Good Morning America,” “The View,” and “EXTRA!”

Booked a satellite media tour and distributed a video news release reaching an audience of over 7.5 million in 23 markets nationwide. 

Generated cover stories in the two largest magazines for cancer patients, Coping and Cancer and You, and a consumer health magazine, Medizine.

Utilized advisory board members and couples from their own practices in local newspaper interviews.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS

More than 530 news stories reaching an audience of more than 70 million met the program objectives:

Nearly half of the news stories credited Amgen and Praecis Pharmaceuticals as sponsors of the educational initiative.

More than 295 stories called spouses to action by listing the toll-free hotline number and more than 240 stories referenced the “Two Against One” Web site address.

More than 50,000 interested patients, spouses and advocacy partners called the hotline and visited the Web site to learn more and order materials. Ninety-five percent of these respondents said they had heard about “Two Against One” from news stories. 

Elizabeth Dole issued a statement endorsing the program.

Due to the success of the “Two Against One” outreach, the program is being expanded in 2001 to reach other caregivers, such as sons and daughters of prostate cancer patients, and to add more educational resources.  

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