(Oct. 14) Paid radio ads urging black men to eat more fruits and vegetables will be one of the new components of a new communications campaign for the National Cancer Institute’s 5 a Day program.

The National Cancer Institute has selected the Washington, D.C., office of Porter Novelli to drive a comprehensive communications campaign for its 5 a Day for Better Health Program, according to a news release from Porter Novelli.

The funding for NCI’s 5 a Day communication budget is allocated at $7.4 million over three years, the agency said. Funding is nearly double the level of last year, the news release said. Much of the communications budget during the first year will be devoted to reach black men with the 5 a Day message.

Dale Snyder, partner with Porter Novelli, said that the late 2001 hire of Lorelei DiSogra as director of the 5 a Day for Better Health Program at NCI has re-energized the program.

DiSogra said new strategies would include reaching out to men through television, radio and print media.

“My goal at NCI is looking at how do we move the awareness and behavior numbers … every step is focused on moving the numbers,” DiSogra said.

“This is just he beginning of some very exciting things coming out of NCI’s program,” she said.

INCREASED MEDIA SPENDING

DiSogra said the increased funding would translate to significant purchases of paid media, which is a first in the life of the 5 a Day program.

“We actually have money in the budget for paid radio programming,” she said.

That fact, along with the new target audience, gives the NCI 5 a Day effort a fresh approach, Snyder said.

“The 5 a Day brand is a mature brand, and you have to give it a good kick. This is the kick it needs to get it back on the map,” he said. He added that the new message will be five to nine fruits and vegetables a day.

The program, including possible radio ad buys, will be rolled out in the first quarter of 2003.

COMPLEMENT PBH

Men are far less aware of the 5 a Day messages than women are, Snyder said. He said the NCI 5 a Day efforts will complement those of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, which focuses on the primary shopper.

“It’s important that each partner defines their audience,” he said.

The contract award marks the return of Porter Novelli to the NCI program. The institute had worked with agency from 1991-2000. Snyder said the firm did not bid on the last communications contract in 2000 for a variety of reasons.

Lori Baer, manager of public relations and production for the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Wilmington, Del., said PBH uses Swardlick Marketing Group, Portland, Maine, for its color-based 5 a Day (5 a Day: The Color Way) campaign. The Swardlick Marketing Group works with PT & Co., New York, for consumer media relations.

She said PBH doesn’t have any contracts with Porter Novelli.