The symptoms of prostate cancer rarely show before the disease has progressed, yet a simple Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test can serve as an early warning and save men’s lives. But how do you reach men in their late 30s and early 40s when statistics show they often skip regular physicals and avoid doctors’ offices?
Rick Lyke, senior partner and director of public relations and public affairs for the Southeast offices of marketing communications agency Eric Mower and Associates (EMA), was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February. After successful surgery at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital in April, Lyke focused his strategic communications energy on how to spread the message about prostate screening and PSA testing.
“Many men can tell you about their favorite IPA (India Pale Ale), but few know about their PSA. We need to help educate them about getting the simple PSA blood test because it can save their lives,” Lyke said.
Lyke founded Pints for Prostates, an awareness campaign designed to educate men through beer about the need for regular PSA testing. Pints for Prostates aims to raise funds for Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, a not for profit group founded and governed by prostate cancer survivors, and to spark a grassroots effort to reach men who might be missed through traditional health education programs.
Creative design for the Pints for Prostates brand identity, including a logo and advertising materials, was developed by EMA’s creative team. The materials are appearing in more than a dozen consumer and trade magazines, reaching several million men. A social media outreach effort has resulted in a number of websites and blogs carrying the Pints for Prostates message about the importance of early PSA testing and prostate healthy screenings.
“Our goal is to reach men with an important health message in a friendly and non-threatening way. We decided to use the universal language of beer as a tool to reach as many people as possible,” Lyke said.
Pints for Prostates is focused on reaching men in September, which is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and October. In addition to the donated print ad space and Internet coverage for the campaign, several beer bars and brewpubs will be hosting fundraisers for Us TOO International. Pints for Prostates will also have booth space to reach men attending the Great American Beer Festival in Denver and the World Beer Festival in Durham, N.C., during October.
Lyke has spent 25 years with EMA and has been in the firm’s Charlotte office for the last three years. He led EMA’s public relations group in Syracuse before helping to establish the firm’s public relations- and public affairs-driven office in Albany in 1996. He has a broad range of experience in advertising, marketing and interactive communications.
Lyke spent time as a reporter and columnist for a daily newspaper before joining EMA, and continues to be an active freelance writer for beer, consumer and trade publications.