When it comes to getting noticed in the 21st century, patient advocacy groups should never underestimate the power of celebrity.
Over the past year, Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) has enlisted the help of Hollywood royalty to get media attention – and their message out to the people who need it.
Colleen McKenna, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations at PCF, told Change Together: “Having a celebrity ambassador communicate our message of early detection and education allows us to reach a greater number of people.”
“For better or worse, many publications prefer to feature celebrities rather than subject matter experts alone.”
A personal connection
Each of the high-profile individuals who have worked with the group have a personal connection to prostate cancer. It means they understand the importance of the message and the power of education to save lives.
“We have been so fortunate that high-profile individuals have stepped up to assist PCF with getting the word out about our work and especially the importance of early detection,” explains Colleen.
The foundation, which is committed to tackling the significant racial disparities that impact the disease, particularly for African American men, recruited Chris Rock and Snoop Dogg to promote its guide, Additional Facts for African American Men and Their Families.
Reaching more people
Colleen’s advice to fellow patient advocacy groups is to connect their celebrity backers to existing news stories or events. “At the core of each campaign is information that leads men and their families to PCF’s excellent patient resources.”
In February, for example, the group worked with celebrity couple Kristen Bell and Dax Shepherd. The pair, who became PCF ambassadors after losing Shepherd’s stepfather to prostate cancer, secured TV appearances including The Ellen DeGeneres Show and have run hugely successful social media campaigns.
“We are so grateful to the ambassadors who have given us so much of their time to help us reach many more people than we could alone with the important prostate cancer awareness information,” says Colleen.