Inspiring patient action

Promoting health awareness in hard-to-reach audiences

The Background

Pap Smears

Straight Women (77%)
Lesbian Women (64%)


Straight Women (71%)
Lesbian Women (49%)

Members of the LGBTQ communities have been identified as under/never screened for three common, and highly treatable cancers and are priority populations for the CCS.

A study commissioned by the CCS suggests that there are number of barriers to screening, including:

  • Misinformation or confusion about what test needs to happen when;
  • Missed opportunities to talk about cancer screening with doctors;
  • An inability to navigate the system; and
  • Messaging that doesn’t speak to LGBTQ individuals;

The Screening Saves Lives (SSL) program in the LGBTQ communities is a peer-educator program to help address at least some of these barriers.

The CCS asked CPC to develop a creative campaign to support these peer-educators in their mandate to increase knowledge and awareness of the importance of screening, to increase participation in screening for these cancers and to identify and address barriers to screening.

During the research phase of the program development, it became clear that to maintain a strong call to action we needed a campaign that could be adapted to all groups yet shared a concise and consistent message: you need to be screened.

Considering the differences that exist within these diverse communities, we also had to do so in a way that did not conflict with what was conveyed in our research. We wanted it to be fun, contain messaging that was inclusive, yet also had the ability to be adapted to different audiences within the LGBTQ community.

We developed a campaign that used well-known “screen” (movie) images but with a twist – using real members of the community.  Each movie inspiration was carefully selected to speak to the age group and gender identification group, while having the same message consistently delivered: Get Screened.

Our Solution

We re-imagined iconic movie posters, each selected for its relevancy to the unique age group, using real community members. This allowed us to uniquely target both for age and for the LGBTQ communities. We did a soft launch at the Inside-Out Movie Festival and then did a big splash at the Toronto Pride Festival with a red carpet-inspired booth. This was extended in print with visual advertisements, online with banners, and on social media and with bloggers.

The Results

  • More than 1,000 photos shared from Pride events
  • Website visitors stayed an average of 2.5 minutes, with a very low bounce rate
  • Social campaign extension tripled Facebook page likes and doubled engagements and reached almost 75,000 people
  • Heavy media attention including City TV, Global, and CBC news
  • Program expanded geographically
  • Won several awards, but most importantly, inspired thousands of life-saving conversations
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