Awareness Campaigns Get Sexy

“Sex sells”, or so the adage goes.

It seems to me that shortly after Old Spice launched their “Old Spice Guy” campaign in February of 2010, spots and moreover online advertising has shifted; More hunks, more babes and more views for everyone.

The Old Spice Guy campaign was undoubtably successful.  Product sales doubled and Old Spice’s YouTube channel has accumulated almost 250,000,000 views, not to mention dozens of industry awards. As one blogger put it, The Old Spice Guy is perfect, obviously. Zero body fat, the supernatural ability to embody masculine ideals, and a baritone deadpan delivery that instantly unleashes awesome into the world. For Proctor & Gamble, the manufacturer of Old Spice, the campaign was a home run.  It not only got them paid but re-energized a failing brand into one that younger generations could connect with. Not an easy task when competitors like Unilever’s AXE are prevailing.

After a year of review and the financials tallied, more cautious and the commonly less “sexy” sectors are taking notice. Enter the health industry.

Of course it wasn’t going to be health organizations taking the plunge into creating daring content first.  When you’re a non-profit and your funding comes from an established foundation, one doesn’t “rock the boat.” This rings [...] continue the story

Pumping up the volume on patient voices | Health Council of Canada

Originally posted on the Health Council of Canada Blog.

Patient Commando Executive Director Zal Press writes a guest column for the Health Council of Canada blog as part of the release of the Health Council of Canada report  “How do Sicker Canadians with Chronic Disease Rate the Health Care System? ” Get the report here and watch their patient story video – a familiar face included.


I’m taking a biologic for Crohn’s disease. And I’m a lucky guy – my $30,000 annual tab is picked up by my wife’s benefit plan. But in five years, when I hit 65, we’ll be off her plan and I’ll be transferred to the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan.

I’m already fretting over what that future will bring. Will the continued financial strain on the health system foreclose on my access to this medication, and instead force a body-altering operation because it will cost the system less in the short run?

And will this decision be made by a cost-benefit analyst rather than by a collaborative agreement between me and my doctors?

US insurance companies have required multiple step therapies before approving many biologics, resulting in multi-year delays. In Ontario, the Exceptional Access Program has fallen behind in processing applications. The population [...] continue the story

An open letter to Michael J. Fox

Dear Michael J. Fox,

Your Curb Your Enthusiasm appearances powerfully highlight the challenges and misconceptions those with chronic conditions face on a daily basis.

You’ve shown how one person’s story can make an impact and you have said that we’re given so few chances in this lifetime to make a real difference and change the world.

As you read this letter, millions of people around the world join with you in reading it as well…adding their memorable stories online and sharing with you their experience, living with chronic illness. All of these people are trying to make a difference.

I am asking you to share a simple story with Patient Commando. Maybe one that you might think is insignificant to others, but demonstrates nevertheless, how gritty it gets behind the hospital curtains along with the compliment of hilarity that sometimes is coupled with that experience. The more it is about thoughts and feelings, anxiety or relief, the better.

Together we can amplify the voices of those labelled with chronic condition and overcome what author Chimamanda Adichie coined as “the danger of a single story”: the idea that there’s only one way to tell a story and understand it.

You’ll find people similar to yourself, going online [...] continue the story