Greenville Hospital System - Colorectal Screening Promotion
Statistics aren't always persuasive. You can tell someone that colorectal cancer is the third most common type of non-skin cancer, and that 140,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. But to truly build awareness and change attitudes, sometimes you need to hang toilet paper from trees.
Greenville Hospital System, the leading academic health organization in Upstate South Carolina, with five campuses, 1,100 beds and 7,500 employees.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. And the Greenville Hospital System needed the community to understand the danger of colorectal cancer, while also learning about the importance of early detection. The facts are stark: Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States after lung cancer. And each year for the past five years, more than 140,000 new cases are diagnosed and more than 49,000 people die from this disease.
With a very limited budget, JMG was asked to raise awareness among a wide target audience about colorectal cancer and the importance of early detection through screening.
JMG chose to combine the seriousness of colorectal cancer with the playfulness of toilet-papering trees (the kids call it "TP'ing"). The message—Not getting screened for colorectal cancer is no joke—was wrapped around toilet paper rolls and handed out at the press conference, made into banners and direct mail pieces, posted on yard signs surrounded by TP'ed trees, communicated in Facebook ads and YouTube videos, and broadcasted through local radio and TV spots.
Feedback was immediate, and the direct mail responses continue to roll in. The hospital's call center received 35 inquiry calls based on the campaign. Its microsite (ghs.org/colonscreening) received 1,205 hits with 1,084 unique views. And 18 people scheduled
open-access colonoscopies. (This is a minor miracle, where patients refer themselves directly to the hospital's Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery without a physician referral.)