An unbranded campaign to get men talking about prostate cancer

September is prostate cancer awareness month and a “leading pharmaceutical research company” (no you can’t know which one, this is Canada) has been running a campaign by No Fixed Address to help men have better discussions about the disease with their doctors.

Called “The Crucial Rehearsal,” the campaign includes a video ad and an interactive website where visitors can get more information about prostate cancer and create a personalized script they can use to start a conversation with their doctor. The site and the PSA are both unbranded, and don’t mention any benefits of any treatment—it only encourages men to have a better conversation with their doctor about treatment options.

One in eight men in Canada will likely be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, and men who’ve been diagnosed have to be prepared for open conversation about options.

“We know that these conversations aren’t always so easy for patients; the subject matter is sensitive, time is limited, and there can be a lot to remember,” said oncologist Dr. Kylea Potvin in a release introducing Crucial Rehearsal. “It is understandable that patients may have questions about whether they’re receiving the right treatment for them, but are unsure how to broach the conversation.”

The one-minute spot features a man practising a speech into a mirror. He doesn’t name the disease, but it’s clear something has happened to him and he’s struggling to cope. “I don’t know who I am anymore,” he says. Halfway through, his message changes.

“One thing I do know… I need to be at Emily’s wedding, to give her away. And I need your help doc. What are my options.”

The spot then cuts to a super: “To get the prostate cancer treatment options best suited for you, it’s crucial to be prepared to talk to your doctor.”

“Through discussions we’ve had with both patients and their families, it became clear that while there is a lot of information available online, it can be quite overwhelming and therefore challenging to know the right questions to ask,” said Dervla Bracken-Roche, strategy director at NFA Health. “Our objective with The Crucial Rehearsal was to empower patients to open up to their doctors by giving them the tools to know what they want to say about their unique goals and needs”

David Brown