This week the consumer health news in review is taking on a different perspective. It’s Friday. Almost the end of summer. It’s a good excuse for new perspective.
The news in review has been transformed into “Consumer Health. This is News? Week in Review.”
Let me state the obvious first. I work in PR. This is a PR blog. As PR professionals, it is often our job to take something ordinary and turn it into extraordinary; to perhaps create news.
So for this week in review, I would like to highlight news stories that made me wonder and rethink the strategies I employ with my clients.
Here’s my take on a few stories:
Rosie O’Donnell Has a Heart Attack
Rosie had a heart attack and thankfully she is doing great. While she didn’t recognize the signs immediately, she consulted the internet about her symptoms and took a baby aspirin. She was lucky and her story has appeared on news outlets across the country and beyond speaking to women about the importance of knowing the signs of a heart attack.
This is what we call the amazing power of celebrity.
And it’s about time cardiovascular disease finally secured some decent media attention.
As noted in an article by Nicki Anderson on the Examiner.com, “According to womenheart.org more than 42 million women are currently living with some form of cardiovascular disease. We hear a lot about breast cancer, but the truth is that more than 200,000 women die each year from heart attacks- five times as many women as breast cancer. It's important to remember that heart disease is the leading cause of death of American women, killing more than a third of them.”
Thank you, Nicki. Thank you.
Breast cancer stories are everywhere. That isn’t a bad thing. But why isn’t more attention paid to heart disease? Do you participate in a heart disease awareness campaign effort? How many celebrities align with heart disease and promote the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms?
So a heartfelt thank you to Rosie; we are so glad you are doing well and grateful that you are sharing your story to bring attention to cardiovascular disease. Thank you for bringing mass appeal and news value to women’s health and cardiovascular disease.
Father’s Age Is Linked to Risk of Autism and Schizophrenia
A study came out earlier this week that links risk of autism and schizophrenia to…paternal age! For a change, Moms are in the clear.
The New York Times covered the study in detail noting that study findings “counter the longstanding assumption that the age of the mother is the most important factor in determining the odds of a child having developmental problems. The risk of chromosomal abnormalities, like Down syndrome, increases for older mothers, but when it comes to some complex developmental and psychiatric problems, the lion’s share of the genetic risk originates in the sperm, not the egg…”
People loved this story. Or at least loved talking about it—there are more than 511 comments posted online with the article.
Clearly this was news. But why?
The study itself, in my very humble PR opinion, was less than critical. At the core, it revealed that yes there is increased risk of autism and schizophrenia associated with the paternal father’s age but how extreme is that risk?
According to the article, “The overall risk to a man in his 40s or older is in the range of two percent, at most, and there are other contributing biological factors that are entirely unknown.” Two percent. Does that two percent translate into news value?
Of course it does.
Why? Because it ties to trends and themes that are topical and people care about—autism, genetic risk factors, trying to figure out everything we can about our unborn children as soon as we possibly can.
News. More importantly, news value.
FTC: Ab Circle Pro makers aired deceptive infomercials
Do you have killer abs? I don’t. But I want them. Especially if I could get them in just three easy minutes a day. I’ve seen the infomercial. I’ve picked up the phone. I’ve almost dialed. But that would have required putting down the donut I was eating. Oh right. The donut. The ice cream. The lack of physical activity. Could three minutes really overcome that?
Apparently many people did put down the donut and call. Or maybe they shoved the donut in their mouth and dialed at the same time.
And guess what?
Ab Circle Pro’s three minute ab technique didn’t do the trick. And there was a lawsuit. And now a payout.
USA Today wrote an article about the deceptive infomercials stating that “The FTC says the marketers of Ab Circle Pro, endorsed by fitness trainer Jennifer Nicole Lee, have agreed to refund up to $25 million to consumers. The agency says it is the largest refund ever obtained in an exercise device case.”
What part of this is news coverage? The infomercial was deceptive?
No. “Ab”solutely not. The news is that $25 million is being refunded to consumers. At the average cost of $250 for the Ab Circle Pro that means 100,000 people bought into this.
Mass appeal = news value.
It is easy to be cynical and grouchy and wonder why so-called news is always getting media attention but the truth is, so-called, fluffy news often has the greatest news value. It speaks to people and that translates into readership.
The lesson here—never forget the value of mass appeal. And don’t forget to put your donut down when you do your ab exercises tonight.
Posted by Stacey Holifield on August 24, 2012 at 4:21 PM
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