Take the case of the Sunshine Coast Health Centre, a well-respected addiction treatment centre in Powell River where 20-year-old Brandon Jansen died of a fentanyl overdose last March. The centre was getting a lot of bad publicity with family members saying it was easy for Brandon to get contraband drugs within three days of entering treatment.
But investigations by both the RCMP and the regulator – Vancouver Coastal Health’s Community Care Facilities Licensing authority – determined there were no contraventions of rules and regulations.
In fact, the facility had consistently maintained a low risk rating with no other critical incidents or any drug-related incidents reported since the facility was first licensed in 2004. Yet, the centre’s reputation was taking a beating.
CEO Melanie Jordan has much to say about what treatment is – and what it isn’t. Addiction treatment centres are not prisons or lockup. Clients have rights and freedom.
Accredited staff members treat people for many types of addictions including alcoholism and prescription drugs abuse. Root causes of addiction are addressed including mental health and physical issues. Melanie Jordan wanted to speak publicly about the tragic death in her facility and have a voice in the search for solutions to stop the unprecedented number of deaths caused by fentanyl.
She enthusiastically embraced the concept of being front and centre at a news conference to be held November 14th. A Media Advisory was sent out inviting reporters and videographers to attend.
As the news conference got underway, news cameras quickly swung to the doorway where three visitors had appeared: Brandon Jansen’s mother Michelle, her son Nicholas and her lawyer.
They politely listened as the news conference went forward with Melanie Jordan providing reporters with the written investigation reports that found her centre was operating within the regulations.
But her most important message was aimed at the government and the medical profession.
Staff at the centre had not been permitted to administer the opiate antidote naloxone and it was possible that could have saved Brandon’s life.
Since Brandon’s death, the centre has received permission to train staff to administer naloxone and the staff physician can treat clients with Suboxone that takes away the craving for opiates.
With more than a dozen news organizations present at the news conference, this important information was received by the public across Canada. The record was set straight. The way forward was articulated. The news went out – all at once.
And the voice of Brandon Jansen’s family was also heard. They held their own media briefing following the news conference so as much information as possible surrounding this tragic death would be in the public forum.
Melanie Jordan and the Sunshine Coast Health Centre have standing at an inquest into Brandon Jansen’s death scheduled for January. This will be another forum where voices will be heard.
Pacific Blue Cross, British Columbia’s leading benefits provider, supported Mental Health Week, presented by CMHA. This year’s theme for Mental Health Week was ‘Get Loud!’ aiming to promote ongoing dialogue and open discussion about mental health issues.
The Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation provides HIV care and support for people living with HIV who face additional health and social disparities. The Dr. Peter Centre day health program, enhanced supportive housing program and 24-hr specialized nursing care residence effectively engage people in HIV treatment. It is a model of care that is improving people’s health and inspiring healthcare providers around the world.
Between 2010 and 2013, Peak was engaged by Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation to increase awareness for the organization that would ultimately provide it with longer-term funding and support.
Peak leveraged key dates, milestones, personalities, case studies and fundraising events to secure quality media coverage for the non-profit.
This included World AIDS Day, XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C., and the 20th anniversary of Dr. Peter’s death.
Media coverage was achieved through a range of tactics including news releases, features, op-eds, media tours and by monitoring and responding to hot topics in the news. Peak also supported the Dr. Peter team on issues management when needed.
Over a three year period, Peak secured well over 150 quality coverage hits in top tier media including CBC, CTV, The Globe & Mail, Vancouver Sun, The Province, Georgia Straight and Metro.
A leading dietary supplement development company, SAGA Sciences researches, creates and develops the world’s most potent and effective sports supplements. SAGA Sciences is the umbrella company for two major sport supplements brands, SD Pharmaceuticals and PharmaFreak, both of which have international distribution.
Peak has been working with SAGA Sciences since 2012 to raise brand awareness among its target audience in Canada.
Peak created and executed a national media relations and digital campaign.
The tactics used included the following:
- Proactive media relations activity, including drafting and placing thought leadership articles
- An awards program to identify opportunities and compile entries
- A target blogger ambassador program that gave bloggers the opportunity to experience the products first-hand
- A content program to create engaging content for the brand’s followers
In 2013 alone, the campaign achieved the following:
- 153 pieces of media coverage, an increase of 665 per cent from the previous year
- 32 bloggers conduct product reviews and engaged in social chatter about the brand
- Engagement increased and continues to increase among the client’s target audience base
Peak worked on a monthly retainer with Pacific Blue Cross for four years.
An example of the work we did can be shown by Pacific Blue Cross’s launch of an innovative free online tool called the Pharmacy Compass. The tool helps consumers find better prices for their medications by comparing drug costs and dispensing fees at pharmacy locations across B.C.
The Pharmacy Compass also provides the generic equivalent to brand name drugs and the cost difference between them. Generic drugs listed with PharmaCare typically cost 35 per cent of brand-name drugs in B.C.
We felt the story hit a number of key news buttons – it was a new and innovative tool, the company was headquartered locally (Burnaby), and, most importantly, the Pharmacy Compass directly affected the wallets and health of people the media are trying to reach with their news.
The launch and media campaign were a runaway success. The story was front page headline news in the Vancouver Sun, it was a top story on Global BC, CTV Vancouver and Chek News on the Island. Pacific Blue Cross representative Leza Muir also did interviews on CFAX and Fairchild TV.
The media attention boosted traffic to Pacific Blue Cross’s website literally overnight. There were some 11,200 hits in the first 48 hours and more than 16,000 hits in the first week. The extensive preparation by Pacific Blue Cross and messaging also paid off – the organization was well prepared to respond to various inquiries about the new service from the media, its customers and the public.
Fitness Town originally came to Peak to launch its 90 Day Family Fitness Challenge. After the success of this initial campaign, Peak worked to secure further coverage for the brand in community, consumer, lifestyle and fitness media across Western Canada. Fitness Town has been a project-based client for three years now.
- Monitored news daily to identify any news hijacking opportunities for spokesperson comment
- Worked with local ambassadors including Tommy Europe to secure attendance at media events and give interviews on behalf of the brand
- Pitched some of the brand’s most innovative products, e.g. Power Plate
- Drafted creative Christmas gift guide pitches and positioned key products as must-haves for the season
- Brainstormed and drafted seasonal features: e.g. New Year trends and tips
- Worked with marketing agency to generate new research for media pitching
- Planned and managed the brand’s first Twitter Chat which trended in the first hour
- 162 pieces of quality coverage in local, trade and vertical media
- 9 million impressions among key audiences
- Key highlights include Huffington Post, Georgia Straight, News1130, Metro, 24 Hours, The Province, Vancouver Sun, Winnipeg Sun, Edmonton Sun, Surrey Leader, CBC, CityTV, Shaw TV