Rick Lyke, a senior partner at Eric Mower and Associates, spoke at the International Economic Forum of the Americas/Conference of Montreal last week. Lyke was part of a session on “Public Health in the Era of Social Media.”
Lyke, who is director of public relations and public affairs for EMA’s Southeast offices, founded Pints for Prostates in 2008 after successful prostate cancer surgery. He was 47 years old at the time and did not have any symptoms or family history of the disease. Pints for Prostates reaches men through the universal language of beer with a message about the importance of regular prostate health screenings and early detection of the disease. The organization is active on social media promoting its events and spreading information about the disease.
“There are more than 10 billion social media accounts worldwide,” Lyke said. “Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms are changing the way we communicate, our interactions with friends, how we connect with brands and the way we receive news and information. There is a real opportunity to use social media to make significant progress in critical areas of public health.”
Lyke’s presentation outlined how Pints for Prostates utilizes social media in concert with events, publicity and pro-bono advertising provided by EMA to fuel its awareness effort. Also speaking on the panel were Chairman Harvey, CEO of PasseportSante.net, and Alain Gourd, immediate past chairman of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada and founding president and former chief executive officer of BCE Media.
Pints for Prostates has been featured in a number of beverage publications, websites and blogs, as well as at beer events from Seattle to Boston. The campaign has raised nearly $200,000 for prostate cancer awareness. Magazines ranging from Time and Sports Illustrated to All About Beer and Draft donated space to run the ads EMA developed.
PRWeek featured Pints for Prostates in 2009, calling it a smart campaign. “It was wise, generous and commendable of EMA to support this effort. Momentum … should prove beneficial in expanding outreach,” they wrote.
Lyke has spent 28 years with EMA and has been in the firm’s Charlotte office for the last five 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.