July 28, 2015

ab+c Public Relations Team Wins State, Then National Press Awards

Educating beach-goers in Dewey about protecting their skin.

Educating beach-goers in Dewey about protecting their skin.

Leah Haugh and Dante LaPenta made some statewide and national PR noise for ab+c Creative Intelligence. The pair won first place awards from the Delaware Press Association and the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW). Let’s see how they made it happen.

Working with the Delaware Division of Public Health, the ab+c public relations team was tasked with spreading the word on spreading sunscreen as well as getting screened for skin cancer. And as the behavior change marketing experts at ab+c know better than most, getting people to even consider a behavior modification (like turning off the tanning bed) is no easy task.

Summer campers  explained what is means to be sun smart through a drawing activity.

Summer campers explained what is means to be sun smart through a drawing activity.

With Delaware’s melanoma incidence rate climbing all the way up to fourth out of 50 states, Haugh and LaPenta developed and personally executed a jam-packed PR campaign; it included everything from interviewing testimonial speakers, pitching local media, building partnerships with organizations across the state, launching social media pages, and even educating summer campers. Every target audience – beach goers, farmers, outdoor workers, parents, and young people – learned the importance of protecting their skin.

After 42 media stories, 30 partnerships, 16 events, two incredible testimonial videos, and thousands of engaged Delawareans, the pair entered the skin cancer campaign in the Delaware Press Association Awards in the public service category … and won. Buoyed by the triumph, Haugh and LaPenta submitted their campaign to the NFPW Communications Contest, which accrued 575 entries from across the country. If you can see where this is going, Haugh and LaPenta were again victorious – first in the nation. No word yet if plane tickets are booked for the September awards banquet in Anchorage, Alaska.

If you read the judges’ comments, it’s clear to see why Delaware’s skin cancer campaign really shined.

  • Great writing in the informational pieces and releases
  • Excellent choice of events and super choice of partnerships
  • What can we say of the videos of impacted survivors? Excellent work. It is not easy to get first-person testimonials to actually read as authentic.

As Delaware continues to monitor skin cancer incidence and mortality figures, time will tell how ab+c’s skin cancer campaign impacted cases in the First State. For now, the thousands of engaged social media users, website visitors, news consumers, and in-person interactions helped to measure a short-term success story.

But there is no resting on their laurels for Haugh, LaPenta, and ab+c. Between drinking and driving, problem gambling, and heroin counter marketing, the Behavior Change Marketing Team has plenty more campaigns to tackle.

Have you been screened for skin cancer? Yeah, we’re talking to you. Just visit the campaign website — ProtectYourSkinDE.com — and find a local dermatologist.

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