Have a Colonoscopy and a Smile!

by Ken Mueller on March 16, 2012 · 13 comments

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Last month I took my son for his annual check-up, and I mentioned to the doctor that I would soon be turning 50. He got a smirk on his face, looked at me and said “So I guess it’s colonoscopy time!”.

I wasn’t amused.

But after seeing a new campaign from the folks at CBS Cares, I’m not only amused, but also thinking a bit more about getting that colonoscopy. (Don’t worry, I won’t tweet the experience!)

The new campaign is a great example of using humor to address a serious and pressing issue. It’s also a great example of how traditional and new media can work well together.

Let’s face it: no one wants to talk about getting a colonoscopy, let alone actually get one. It’s one of those things we’re more than happy to put off until “another day”. And yet, it’s important. Would a serious PSA about colon cancer get out attention? Maybe, but I’m not sure how effective it would be. But the new CBS Cares campaign is actually quite funny, and features Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. My first glimpse of the campaign came when I saw this promotion running on CBS:

The promo in and of itself is pretty darn funny, and as I watched, I sat there thinking, “Is this real? Or is it a spoof?”. So, as I was prompted to do in the commercial, I went online to the CBS Cares site to check out this contest, and yes, I did enter for the chance to win a trip to NYC to have the procedure done there.

But I love how the humor continues on the website. On a page telling you what to expect on your trip, you find these little tidbits:

“At approximately 15h00, you will start drinking a laxative. No big deal, but if you’re thinking of doing the walking tour of the city during this phase – FUGGEDABOUTIT! (a New York expression best learned here than in response to your frantic request of a doorman or restaurant manager to use the facilities).”

And then there’s this section about the procedure:

“As the colonoscopy begins, you will be given a drug that will make you feel like you’re at an early 70’s Black Sabbath concert – but without the music. If the doctor starts to look like Ozzy, please report the side effect to him or the Prince of Darkness – whomever you see first.”

Some might be put off by this cavalier attitude toward such a serious thing, but I think it works. And then I love the nice little touch with the quiz at the end of the entry form, particularly the third question:

colonoscopy contest Have a Colonoscopy and a Smile!

The medical profession is a serious profession, and colon cancer is no laughing matter. And yet this touch of humor might be just what is needed to get people to take it seriously. Because sometimes you just gotta lighten things up a bit.

How do you feel about this campaign? Are there ways you can adapt this technique and use humor to address serious issues?

 Have a Colonoscopy and a Smile!
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13 comments
SunnyC
SunnyC

@ShellyKramer The word "colonoscopy" doesn't make me smile :(

davesace
davesace

Your story reminds me of a status update I put on my www.facebook.com/davesace  just over a year ago..... 

 

I'm on my way home to enjoy a bowl of broth, some jello (not the red kind) and a gallon of something my doctor prescribed. Did I mention I just turned 50? ;-(

 

Maybe not technically a "public service announcement" but it did get almost 60 unique comments and likely reminded at least a few fans to make an appointment.

Mjoshua
Mjoshua

This is pretty awesome. It brings to mind things like the movie 50/50 and how it approached the subject of cancer with both sobriety and a wealth of humor. But this is even better because it's real.

BestRoofer
BestRoofer

Yeah, I've been putting mine off.  I guess you talked me into singing up for the contest.  Ooooh I can't wait!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @davesace I remember that status, Dave! It was great to see that kind of reaction, and I also love that it was you being you, and not feeling like all you could talk about was hardware. I wish more businesses would do that. 

C_Pappas
C_Pappas

@kmueller62 I saw that. Good luck! I think for women it's later in life -right? O man, Im already scared!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @Mjoshua I just love the campy feel of the whole thing. Hopefully it resonates with a lot of people. 

kmueller62
kmueller62

@C_Pappas i think it's 50 for both...

Emmappyle
Emmappyle

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C_Pappas
C_Pappas

@kmueller62 OMG! 17.5 years till dooms day! Good luck to you! And I hope you win the trip!

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