Golin/Harris Florida (G/H) was challenged to start an international dialogue on the sensitive subject of female sexual dysfunction following research in this area conducted by The University of Southern California. G/H succeeded in raising women’s awareness of the medical condition, educating them that there is an potential solution recently identified, and orchestrating a controversial campaign in a manner sensitive to the underlying misconceptions of both the media and postmenopausal community.
The campaign objectives were four-fold: to create general awareness of the issue of female sexual dysfunction by placing media stories in mainstream U.S. and European media outlets; to educate women on the new medical research and its potential impact on the treatment of low libido (while no FDA-approved product to treat female sexual dysfunction is currently available, preliminary research indicated transdermal HRT may be an option); to communicate information and generate interest for further planned clinical trails examining the effects of transdermal HRT on libido; and to generate media opportunities for one of USC’s research scientists, Dr. Roy.
 In order to generate widespread media coverage for the campaign, G/H needed to conduct extensive outreach to TV outlets, while also targeting mainstream print publications. This posed a major challenge, since the campaign budget wasn’t sufficient to allow us to produce a VNR or create b-roll footage. To overcome this obstacle, G/H developed a three-pronged strategic plan that would enable us to generate and sustain media interest for a highly technical medical topic without accompanying visuals:
· Target network TV shows hosted by women of menopausal age with messages spotlighting the study results
· Target late night talk shows with comedic messages based on the study results
· Target network affiliate stations (local to USC area) with offers of exclusive coverage of the study results
· Target television syndicators with information on study results
After learning that Joy Behar of the View had recently stopped her oral HRT, G/H launched an aggressive effort to contact her producers with our story idea. After extensive pitch letters and calls to the producers, we landed us a 2:10 minute segment that included a humorous discussion of the study by the show’s hosts. The segment, which included mentions of the product name and a detailed explanation of the research findings (goal 1), reached a total of 6,600,000 viewers.
The study results caught the attention of Craig Kilborn, host of the Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborne, who mentioned the findings in a comedic manner during his show, reaching an audience of 3,000,000.
KNBC-TV, Los Angeles’s local NBC affiliate, accepted the offer of exclusive coverage in their market. The final 2:18 minute segment included footage of Dr. Roy and Terry Linehan, the study participant, and extensively featured the patch and its benefits over oral therapy. After ongoing work with NBC, G/H was also able to garner a national feed of the segment, resulting in an additional 25 airings nationwide and reaching a total audience of 7,949,275.
Ivanhoe Broadcast News, the country’s largest news-gathering organization covering medical breakthroughs, family health and women’s issues, produced a 1:30 minute long segment, featuring Dr. Roy, Terry Linehan, and the patch product. The piece was broadcast 44 times across the country on ABC, CBS, FOX and Independent affiliates, reaching a total audience of 13,555,085. In addition, the segment included contact information for Dr. Roy, playing a vital role in the communication of available further clinical trials to women.
 By achieving widespread media coverage in mainstream U.S. and European consumer outlets, G/H started an international dialogue on the “taboo” subject of female sexual dysfunction and the potential treatment options for women . USC received numerous calls and e-mails from women sharing their personal plight with females sexual dysfunction and requesting help and advice after seeing media.
G/H also generated widespread inclusion of key messages in the media coverage of the campaign. The message of low libido as a quality of life issue was communicated in 96 percent of media placements, the potential benefits of transdermal medications vs. pills was included in 90 percent of coverage, and the availability of an HRT patch was mentioned in 98 percent of media hits.
In addition, the University of Southern California was contacted by close to 200 women expressing interest in participating in subsequent clinical trials examining the relationship between sexual libido and transdermally administered HRT therapies
Furthermore, Novogyne’s relevant sales figures would seem to indicate that the campaign started a dialogue between women and their doctors. From June 2002 (launch month) to December 2002, CombiPatch, as the only estrogen/progestin HRT patch currently on the market, significantly outperformed the overall HRT category by 28.1 percent and increased its market share from 2.6 percent to 3.9 percent.