June is Men’s Health Month, a period dedicated to promoting health education among men and encouraging them to address their well-being more openly. This year, pharma and healthcare brands have taken steps to get men to address uncomfortable topics.
Ever since its start in 1994, Men’s Health Month has sought to motivate men, known for their reticence to discuss such topics, to get regular check-ups and seek medical advice. Two campaigns that are running this month stand out due to their takes on diseases that are more common among men than many patients think.
Endo Pharmaceuticals has partnered with Ogilvy to raise awareness about Peyronie’s disease, a condition that causes men to have abnormally curved and severely painful erections. It’s estimated that one in 10 men have the disease, but few talk about it with a doctor.
That’s where Ask About the Curve comes in. The disease awareness campaign aims to inform men about the PD through dynamic online content and a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. The team at Ogilvy, in search of a relatable campaign idea for this latest PD-awareness effort, landed on using everyday bottles that have been Photoshopped to tilt in strange directions. (GSW had used a curved key to help relate the disease to a professional audience.)
Campaign spokesdoctor Aaron Spitz has appeared on TV shows to talk about the disease and promote health education among men. Endo has also used Spitz’s social media presence to draw attention to the campaign.
The agency is hoping the content, which appears on campaign website askaboutthecurve.com and social feeds, gets men talking about what can be a painful problem, both emotionally and physically, and it wants to motivate men to “get in touch” with their anatomy, said Carissa Hilliard, account director at Ogilvy.
“We wanted to create a place for men to learn more information, to get them to go to a urologist the way women would go to a gynecologist,” she said. “We talk about women’s health a lot, and they are encouraged to be on top of their health. Men typically aren’t, and it’s affecting them.”
To accomplish this, aside from its visuals, campaign resources seek to connect men’s erections to their overall health, arguing that PD is a sentinel for detecting other problems. Ask About the Curve isn’t limited to bringing attention to PD, but rather to men’s health in general by seeking to destigmatize the notion that only women should care about their physical well-being. The campaign will run after June, though Endo is focusing on Men’s Health Month to enhance its success.
In the point-of-care area, PatientPoint and Us Too have joined forces to educate men about prostate cancer by developing a brochure that is being distributed in exam rooms across the country. Asked about the partnership, Us Too CEO Chuck Strand said it’s all about reaching patients in the right place and time.
“There’s a divergence of having information and having access to the patient population. We are all about providing information so patients make good choices, but it’s challenging because there’s so much information out there,” he said. “It’s really about providing the right information to the patient at the right time.”
Strand added in a blog for PatientPoint that “men need to know that prostate cancer has no symptoms until the disease is advanced” and that “annual screenings are essential.”
The brochures will be available after Men’s Health Month. Us Too and PatientPoint will relaunch the campaign in September, which is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, with interactive digital sources at doctor’s offices.
Throughout the month, there’s also been activity in the realm of earned and shared media, including nonprofit Men’s Health Network’s Wear Blue program, which invited patients to host events wearing blue clothes to raise awareness and funds for men’s health education. The campaign celebrated Wear Blue Friday on June 14, with events, fundraisers and the use of the hashtags #WearBLUE, #WearBlueFriday and #ShowUsYourBlue.
This article has been updated to clarify the scope of the Endo campaign.