Background on Campaigns & Promotions
What are campaigns and promotions strategies for colorectal cancer?
- Campaigns and promotions send messages about colorectal cancer screening and healthy lifestyle behaviors to large audiences. These strategies help raise awareness, provide information or change attitudes about colorectal cancer screening. For more information about healthy lifestyle-related strategies, see Nutrition, Physical Activity and Tobacco.
- These messages may be distributed through television and radio advertisements, newspapers, advertisements in medical journals, billboards, websites, brochures and a number of other communication channels. Well-known public figures, such as celebrities or athletes, can draw attention to the messages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be a resource for these messages.
- Use of consistent messages across the different communication channels, such as print, television and radio can help audiences remember the messages.
- Specific colorectal cancer messages can:
- increase awareness of the benefits of colorectal cancer screening, risk factors for colorectal cancer and recommendations for reducing risk;
- prompt individuals to seek colorectal cancer screening for themselves; or
- increase awareness of payment options for colorectal cancer screening, including insurance coverage and opportunities for free screenings.
How can I use campaigns and promotions to increase colorectal cancer prevention behaviors?
- Campaigns and promotions can create community awareness about the importance of colorectal cancer prevention to health and quality of life. Increasing knowledge and awareness is often the first step to supporting behavior change. Campaigns and promotions can help individuals become ready to change their behavior.
- Previous work shows that campaigns and promotions used with other intervention strategies, such as policy changes or individual education, are more likely to change behavior. For example, campaigns and promotions may be used to advertise opportunities to receive free or low-cost screenings.
- Previous work also shows that it is important to frame messages in a positive way rather than a negative way. Messages that highlight the benefits of colorectal cancer screening may be more successful than messages about the consequences of not obtaining colorectal cancer screening.
- Mass media campaigns are the most common of these strategies. These campaigns have helped to increase knowledge and awareness about colorectal cancer, screenings and resources available in the community.
What are the different strategies to improve colorectal cancer prevention?
- Mass media campaigns use media channels, such as newspaper, radio, television, and internet, to deliver messages to large numbers of people in schools, worksites, communities, regions or states.
- Campaigns translate what are often complicated messages into specific, easily understood, messages about colorectal cancer. The campaign can be used to raise awareness, provide information or change attitudes and community norms.
- Some of these messages may identify specific resources, such as walk-in clinics, and others provide more general recommendations regarding the benefits of colorectal cancer screening.
- Mass media campaigns are useful because they can reach and educate large numbers of individuals about colorectal cancer. If, for example, a mass media campaign in a large metropolitan area addresses 100,000 older adults and successfully increases colorectal cancer screening awareness in 3% of the older adult population, then the campaign has reached 3,000 adults.
- Mass media campaigns can minimize staff time. Once the campaign begins, individuals read, watch or listen to the messages on their own. They may cost less per person when the campaign is in a large community. For other strategies, more time and funding may be necessary to reach this many people. The messages and materials can be reused or updated for long-term efforts.
- Mass media campaigns (particularly television advertisements) can be very expensive to get started. Some individuals may think the messages are not relevant to them because they are addressed to everyone.
- These campaigns are difficult to evaluate. Tracking how many individuals actually received or read the messages can be very expensive in a large community.
- Point-of-decision prompts provide cues to action. For example, signs placed in health care facilities may increase the likelihood that people will ask their providers about colorectal cancer.
- Point-of-decision prompts can reach and educate large numbers of individuals with minimal cost.
- Point-of-decision prompts may work best at the beginning of the intervention. As individuals become used to seeing point-of-decision materials, they may become less attentive and less interested in the messages.
What do I need to know to develop campaigns and promotions?
- The most appropriate campaign messages and ways to communicate those messages may differ depending upon the target population. For example, individuals with a strong family history and older adults may need very different information and resources.
- Campaigns and Promotions can be created for an entire community of for a particular group. Messages to change knowledge, attitudes or beliefs about colorectal cancer and screening are most effective if they are specific to different groups. Messages may also be translated into different languages or designed for groups with different beliefs, traditions or cultures.
- Campaigns with specific messages for smaller groups are more effective in improving knowledge and awareness than larger campaigns. However, larger campaigns are more likely to reach greater numbers of individuals.
- Longer campaigns with a greater number of events or materials are more effective in changing attitudes and beliefs, but these campaigns are also more complex and expensive.
- Campaigns and promotions can provide a direct message about colorectal cancer or they can provide an indirect message about changes in behavior, environments or policies that lead to improved colorectal cancer-related behaviors. For example, some messages could describe reasons to become screened and other messages could offer a list of low-cost screening opportunities in the community.
- Promotional items may be used to increase knowledge and awareness of colorectal cancer and ways to become screened. For example, bumper stickers, key chains, t-shirts or other types of give-aways can have campaign messages or intervention resources on them.
Who do I work with to create campaigns and promotions?
- To get help with your campaign or promotion, the messages or the ways to communicate those messages, you may want to work with some of the following individuals or groups:
- civic organizations/ community organizations (American Cancer Society, YMCA, environment, senior centers)
- advocacy organizations and coalitions
- health departments
- neighborhoods organizations
- faith based organizations
- metropolitan centers
- rural areas
- media personnel (e.g., newspaper, billboards)
- advertising agencies
- county officials/community leaders
- government agencies
- community members