Welcome to Amy’s Spotlight: From Hollywood to Healthcare. The blog will periodically provide commentary from Amy Doner, President and Founder of The Amy Doner Group, an established celebrity and talent procurement agency specializing in the pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare industries. Amy will offer her perspective on the influence celebrity, pop culture and related trends can have on today’s health-minded world and your business.
Using The Limelight To Shed Some Light: A Prescription for Success
Once upon a time celebrities barely made news and, unlike today, rarely the headlines. Actors, musicians or athletes generally kept to publicizing their work within the confines of that late-night talk show interview, magazine feature story or quote in the sports section. Now, traditional and social media outlets everywhere try to be first – literally by the touch(screen) of a button – to share anything and everything about our fan favorites. Today, interest in the celebrity business, or a celebrity’s business, is at a peak – including even what ails them.
But why? It’s alluring to many to get up close and personal with someone whose craft is admired, and persona many aspire to emulate. And, if celebrities go through the same “in sickness and in health” as others, they, and their medical advice, become relatable. Celebrities are not health experts, with medical decisions best left to professionals who use sound clinical and scientific evidence to drive patient treatment decisions. Yet, when celebrities themselves are afflicted, or have loved ones who are, there’s an opportunity to champion a cause perhaps not given enough public attention otherwise.
While raising awareness so those at-risk for diabetes get tested, urging someone with a family history of glaucoma to go for a vision screening, or helping to destigmatize mental illness, celebrities can speak out to change enough behavior to make a positive impact. A patient’s quality of life can be enhanced, with perhaps a life even saved, by a celebrity simply encouraging others to seek a physician’s advice.
Whether a celebrity is recruited by a company, health association or other entity, the approach has to be smart from the start. Objectives should focus on a celebrity’s ability to motivate and empower others, not “push a drug” or “promote a brand’s agenda.” And, the health issue is the story – not the celebrity. Less about finding the “biggest name today,” it’s about balancing who has the best connection to a disease while espousing the right values and integrity decision-makers would want representing this connection. Once the right fit is established, focused key messages reaching the target audience through the best interview opportunities can help to get the ball rolling and work to improve health outcomes.
Yes, the healthcare communications industry may still seek that universal magic metric to determine how well these campaigns are doing, but companies are well on their way. If more people get cholesterol screenings after an interview ran, took a bone density test because their favorite actress just did, or went for a psa test because an all-star athlete just announced he has prostate disease, then the buzz is working.
Way past this once upon a time, we’re now in a world where a celebrity’s antics make the headlines, and are the headlines. Separately, that’s why it’s more refreshing than ever to know that someone people admire, yet may never get to meet, can actually have one’s best interests at “heart,” and the utmost respect and gratitude for speaking out to help keep it healthy.