EMA and BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York Named a PRWeek Award Finalist

BUFFALO, N.Y. Painkillers Kill—the community-wide, multi-media awareness campaign Eric Mower + Associates created with client BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York—has been named a finalist in the Community Relations Campaign of the Year category for the 2015 PRWeek awards.

Considered among the industry’s highest accolades, the PRWeek awards recognize excellence in campaigns, techniques, personalities and business, and are awarded to the best corporate, nonprofit, agency, government, and education teams. Also nominated in the Community Relations Campaign of the Year category are campaigns by the Coyne Public Relations/National Canine Research Council, Union Bank and the Los Angeles Unified School District, Samsung, and Weber Shandwick/DC Health Link.

Painkillers Kill was created after members of BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Avi and Julie Israel, spoke with the insurer to share the story of their son, Michael, who died from opiate addiction, prescribed to help manage symptoms of Crohn’s disease.  The insurer stepped forward to lead an initiative to educate the public and to do so, engaged their agency EMA, to develop a multi-media and social platform campaign that would reach every household in the WNY region, particularly young adults.  Partnering with media partner WNED-Western New York Public Broadcasting, a documentary was created which was aired across all network affiliates as well as viewed by over 100,000 students across the region, supported by curriculum designed for the Painkillers Kill initiative.  Mammoth media power was put behind the campaign through the commitment of virtually every media outlet, including television, billboard, print, radio, online and a unique website created that provided a 24/7 hotline and other educational and community resources.

EMA designed and managed the campaign’s social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter; and designed haunting television, radio, billboard and online creative that dealt with death from painkiller addiction. The campaign, which garnered more than $3 million of earned media with more 50 million regional impressions, has been so successful that it is being shared with the 37 other BlueCross BlueShield plans, which insure one in three Americans. The campaign also incorporated 54 community partners, including colleges, media and advertising outlets. It also resulted in WNED producing a middle-school curriculum to educate students and parents before they reach the primary ages of addiction. The campaign won gold in the Community Outreach Campaign of the Year category at the inaugural Healthcare Marketing IMPACT Awards, presented by Advertising Age and its sister publication Modern Healthcare, earlier this year.

The companies and organizations partnering in this effort include Block Club; Bee Publications; BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York; The Buffalo News; Buffalo & Erie County Public Library; Buffalo Spree Magazine; Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo; Cumulus Media, (FM 96.9, 103.3, 104.1, AM 1270); Daily Post; Entercom Radio, (FM 98.5, 102.5, 107.7, AM 930, 550, 1440, 1520); Eric Mower + Associates; Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse; WNY Family Magazine; Field 2 Design; Robert J. and Martha B. Fierle Foundation, Health Integrated; HealthNow Healthy Living Fund; Horizon Health Services; John R. Oishei Foundation; also, Lamar Advertising; Manzella Marketing;  Save the Michaels of the World; Buffalo State, Canisius and 20 other institutions of higher learning in Western New York; Tops Markets; Townsquare Media, (JACK FM 92.9, WBLK 93.7, JOYFM 96.1, WYRK 106.5); TwentyFirst Century Press; Walgreens; Wegmans; WNED-TV,  Buffalo-Toronto; WBBZ-TV; WGRZ-TV; WKBW-TV; WIVB-TV; WUTV-Fox;  and the Zenger Group.

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