Monday, September 29, 2008

Pints for Prostates Reaching Millions of Men with Health Message

The idea of delivering a health message over a pint of beer might be a little unorthodox, but for an organization focused on getting men to have regular PSA tests and share information about the importance of early detection of prostate cancer, it is proving to be highly effective.

The awareness campaign is designed to get a message about prostate health to men in a fun and non-threatening way. So far the campaign has reached more than 10 million people with a simple message: get your PSA (prostate specific antigen) test.

"Pints for Prostates is an awareness campaign designed to reach men through the universal language of beer. Early detection is the key with this disease and we wanted to find a way to get more men to ask for a PSA test from their physicians," says Rick Lyke, a senior partner with marketing communications firm Eric Mower and Associates and drinks journalist who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February. After successful prostate surgery in April at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Lyke contacted Us TOO International about the concept for the Pints for Prostates campaign.

The campaign has taken off from there. A number of beer-related publications have donated ad space, including All About Beer, DRAFT magazine, Beer Northwest, the seven regional Brewing News newspapers, Imbibe, Beer Advocate, Celebrator Beer News, Bartender Magazine, Modern Brewery Age, and Beer. Also donating full-page ads are regional editions of major consumer magazines, including Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, The Week, Sports Illustrated, Details, GQ and Men's Vogue. Several breweries and retailers have stepped forward to make donations and host events for Pints for Prostates, including Rogue Ales, The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, Carolina Beer, Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in Charlotte, Dogfish Head Brewery and others.

As part of the outreach effort during October, Pints for Prostates will have booths at the World Beer Festival in Durham, N.C., (Oct. 4); the Fall Beer Festivals in Austin, Texas, (Oct. 4) and Fort Worth, Texas (Oct. 11); and Great American Beer Festival in Denver (Oct. 9-11). Nearly 60,000 beer fans are expected to attend these combined events.

"This started out as a grassroots campaign and it has been encouraging to watch it grow as people and organizations get involved," Lyke said. "Men can tell you about their favorite IPA (India Pale Ale), but few know about their PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen). Pints for Prostates is helping to bridge that gap and reach men who might not otherwise visit a doctor or ask for a PSA test."

Us TOO Board Chairman, prostate cancer warrior and support group leader Jim Kiefert says, "Early diagnosis is essential. When I was 50-years-old a PSA test was the first step in my successful battle with prostate cancer. Pints for Prostates is helping to reach millions of men and some of Us TOO's 325 local chapters are getting involved with special events held around the country as part of the effort. We are very encouraged by the way the beer industry is getting involved to help get this critical health message to more men."

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