An Ounce Of Prevention

Broadcast Campaign From Mintz & Hoke For Conn. DPH Touts Annual Mammograms
BOSTON–The Connecticut Department of Public Health has unveiled a public-service campaign designed to encourage women over age 40 to have regular mammograms.
Created by Mintz & Hoke in Avon, Conn., a 30-second TV spot focuses on the simple things in life: a caterpillar crawling on a child’s finger, a young girl’s hair blowing in the breeze, hugging a loved one. The images–which are accompanied by an ethereal musical track–are then replaced by an X-ray with an ominous dot in the center. The voiceover says, “Think of all the little things you’ll miss if you miss this one little thing.”
Patty Rowland, the wife of Connecticut Gov. John Rowland, makes an appearance at the end of the commercial and urges women over 40 to have yearly mammograms.
In a 30-second radio spot, a boy recites a list of things his mother does for him: making peanut-butter sandwiches, buttoning his shirt, sitting beside him on the porch. An adult voiceover tells listeners to imagine what a child would miss if his mother failed to detect cancer because she neglected to have an examination.
The ads, which include a toll-free phone number to obtain information about a free or low-cost mammogram, broke last month and will run through the end of October on stations throughout Connecticut.
Women over 40, especially the uninsured and the underinsured, are targeted, said Mintz & Hoke chief executive officer Chris Knopf. The agency also made an effort to portray a range of ethnicities because breast cancer “cuts across all demographics,” he said.
“I found in public-service commercials that you have to strike a good balance between things you don’t really want to know and things that are pleasant to hear,” Knopf explained. “It’s often very effective to get people shocked and startled into paying attention and then offer up some hope.”
For the DPH effort, that order was reversed. “Once they’re engaged and enjoying the beauty of the commercial, we say, ‘This will all go away if you miss this one little thing.'”
The agency’s female staffers rallied behind the campaign, said Knopf. “Working on the creative really turned people on. It was one of those cases where people really got a sense of devotion to the idea.”
Su Strawderman was the art director. Copywriters were Mintz & Hoke staffer Alan Maislen and award-winning freelancer Roseanne Azarian. Knopf served as creative director on the campaign. Machine Head, Venice, Calif., composed the music.
The last ad from DPH promoting mammograms was created by Cronin & Co. in Glastonbury, Conn. Featuring the voiceover of actress Meryl Streep and haunting music, the commercials aired last spring, before the department consolidated its account at Mintz & Hoke, according to Knopf.