THE GOLD STANDARD AWARDS FOR CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP (Australasia and New Zealand)

Sponsored By: EON – The stakeholder relations group

Winner: Pfizer Oncology: Through My Eyes (with BlueCurrent Group Hong Kong/FleishmanHillard Singapore)

A report on the global status of metastatic breast cancer (mBC) revealed substantial gaps in care, access to resources and support, and treatment outcomes. A survey conducted by Pfizer Oncology in Asia Pacific revealed that 55 percent of the respondents believed mBC did not receive enough public awareness. Women living with mBC — breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and is incurable — often feel misunderstood and isolated. Significant efforts have been made to create awareness of early breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, yet very little attention is paid to mBC. In fact, less than a third of Asian women are aware of mBC compared to a 99 percent awareness of breast cancer.

Given these challenges, Pfizer Oncology committed to bridge the mBC awareness gap and correct misperceptions, as well as expand the breast cancer conversation to be more inclusive of mBC.

Any direct ‘product promotion’ was inappropriate, so Pfizer set out to create a suite of materials that would highlight the unmet needs of mBC sufferers through the stories of women living with the disease. In addition, the material was designed to deliver meaningful reassurance.

The simple but powerful insight was that the most effective reassurance to patients diagnosed with mBC could come from women who had been through the experience themselves. The problem therefore was how to get women suffering from advanced breast cancer to share their heart-wrenching stories.

Pfizer’s answer was “Through My Eyes”, a collection of emotional personal stories from women who have lived through an mBC diagnosis, relating how they have dealt with the condition, and most importantly how they continue to lead rich and fulfilling lives.

The book also looked ‘through the eyes’ of partners and family members as well as healthcare professionals who dedicate their careers to supporting mBC sufferers. The brand was kept very much in the background: this was about subtle brand association with an authentic initiative to deliver information, reassurance and hope to those coping with an mBC diagnosis.

An important aspect of the strategy was to engage with partner breast cancer foundations and charitable organisations across the region, including the HK Breast Cancer Foundation, Associaçåo de Feliz Paraiso (Macau), the McGrath Foundation (Australia), Pink Ribbon Wellness Foundation (New Zealand) and the Taiwan Breast Cancer Alliance. Through these partnerships Pfizer was able to find and interview brave women who were willing to share their stories, and talk also to  their partners, families and healthcare professionals.

The gathering of these stories had to be done personally and with great sensitivity. A female project manager and copywriter, supported by a photographer and video crew, conducted face-to-face interviews and then developed these into moving personal accounts. Each story was supported by a ‘fashion shot’ giving every woman the opportunity to show how beautiful they are and providing them with a precious keepsake.

‘Through My Eyes’ was also brought to life by recording the interviews as individual video stories. These were linked from the printed book by means of a QR code on each page and a link on the digital e-version of the book, allowing readers to see and hear the stories straight from the women.

Pfizer is now in the process of ensuring that the book and videos get to people who desperately need reassurance that others have not only been through what they are going through but are still thriving and enjoying life. The partnership foundations and charitable organisations are the main focus for the distribution of the book alongside healthcare professionals.

The strength of character and sheer bravery shown in these stories are inspirational to any who read them. The response so far has been encouraging and positive from the main organisations supporting mBC patients.

This initiative cannot be measured in sales, nor can it save lives. But Pfizer believes it will deliver enormous value and support to those who desperately need it as well as improve the public awareness of mBC.

Shortlist:

  • ClubsNSW: Refugee Employment Support Program

  • Pfizer Oncology: Through My Eyes (with BlueCurrent Group Hong Kong/FleishmanHillard Singapore)