Is There Anybody Out There?

The awareness campaign of the German Cancer Information Service

The German Cancer Information Service (Krebsinformationsdienst, KID) answers about 34.000 inquiries per year individually through telephone or email. Among the information seekers are patients, their relatives and friends, but also healthy people who want to inform themselves about cancer prevention or early detection.

KID is best known in the south-west of Germany. People from east and north Germany do not use KID that frequently as related to the number of inhabitants, due to the limited awareness of the service in those regions.

To increase the visibility of the German Cancer Information Service throughout Germany, a professional health communication agency was assigned to design posters for outdoor advertising, online banners and also a TV spot. The posters were placed close to train stations and also inside trains and trams in cities in northern and eastern Germany. The online banners were posted on German websites dealing with medical topics, like onmeda.de, gesundheit.de and netdoctor.de. Posters, banners and TV spots in three German TV channels were broadcasted in the third quarter of 2015 – from July until September.

Primary focus of the campaign was to advertise the telephone service of the KID. Thus, all three advertising tools utilized a newly designed Key Visual showing a phone caller who is just about to call KID, a novel logo including the toll free telephone number and the new claim: “Fragen zu Krebs? Wir sind für Sie da.” (“Questions about cancer? We are here for you.”). Key visual, claim and the new logo were also used to renew information flyers and other print materials of the KID (e.g., www.krebsinformationsdienst.de/info/krebsinformationsdienst-flyer.pdf). In addition, they will be utilized for a relaunch of the KID website. The TV-Spot is available on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tu6b3SzAdLI

The user statistics of July to September 2015 showed that the awareness campaign was effective: Several people who called KID mentioned the TV spot or the posters. By using a tracking tool, the internet editorial team of the KID monitored a number of internet users who found the KID webpage by clicking on the online banner, even though this marketing tool was hardly mentioned by the callers.  However, the majority of the telephone callers in the third quarter of 2015 did learn about the telephone service of the KID through the website www.krebsinformationsdienst.de. Other measures that had been highly effective – but less controllable – in the past to raise awareness of the telephone service were articles about cancer-related topics in newspapers or journals, or telecasts in which the phone number of KID was mentioned. A certain proportion of telephone users learned about the offer through cancer-related flyers and brochures released by KID or other publishers.

Thus, search engine optimization of the website resulting in high internet usage, continuous PR activities, and distribution of printed materials are indispensable to raise awareness about KID in the public. Additional attention can be gained by marketing campaigns.

Susanne Weg-Remers (Head of the German Cancer Information Service), Silke Baumann (Internet Editorial Team), Miriam Sonnet (Communications and Outreach)