PR News 2016 Nonprofit PR Awards: Public Service Announcement

Winner: AICR/Williams Whittle—CANcer PREVENTion: Together We Can

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), as part of the World Cancer Research Fund International Network, recently completed a brand refresh project that resulted in new master and sub-brands—and a masterful PSA helped bring attention to the change.

The brand refresh process, which occurred in 2013-14, acknowledged the success of AICR in establishing itself over the last 30 years as the authoritative voice for the science of cancer prevention, through their expert reports and analysis of global cancer research. Their evidence base is well-accepted among the scientific, health professional and health policy communities and their authoritative tone of voice carries over through their publications, website and other programs.

In tone and (potentially) in its messaging, the new look and feel of the AICR brand, both colorful and dynamic, signaled a new approach for AICR. And so, the new “CANcer PREVENTion—Together We Can” brand represented an opportunity to do something dramatic in communications.

Williams Whittle suggested PSAs as the cornerstone strategy to launch the campaign. Williams Whittle’s technique for securing significant PSA airtime was based on making one-on-one emotional appeals and leveraging personal connections with several layers of outreach to the media.

The PSA was digitally sent via Extreme Reach to 5,007 TV outlets and uses colorful, dynamic text-based animation to educate viewers about the links between everyday choices and cancer risk. The power of the message was in the fact that “by making small, everyday changes in your diet, controlling your weight and getting plenty of exercise, you can reduce your risk of the most common cancers by 50%.” The accompanying radio scripts and print ads reflected the message from the TV spot.

By the end of the summer 2015, eight months into the campaign, the PSA had earned 30,000 airings.

Honorable Mentions:

•    Imprenta Communications Group - North East Medical Services

•    NSBC and Paul Werth Associates - Love the Life: Wear It!