“Cancer Can’t Win,” an interview-based three-part television program and internet series was produced by MediaSource for Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Roswell Park Cancer Institute wanted to promote its innovative cancer care, focusing on their institution’s integrative team approach as part of a hospital marketing campaign. The goal of the video content was to reach potential volume-building patients in the region and to boost the institution’s national reputation.
The hospital marketing team set the overall project parameters and looked to MediaSource for counsel on how to best achieve their goals. MediaSource recommended a patient focused, documentary-style approach which leaned heavily on patient and medical team interviews with very little narrator voiceover. Based on our deep experience in producing content for health care brands, we felt that a patient-centric interview approach would give the hospital the best vehicle to appeal to their target audience. We also recommended following multiple patients over an extended time period in order to show the patient’s progress and fully tell the story of the team approach, featuring a variety of doctors and medical experts.
The production team started by following six patients and their families. We shot a total of 12 full (10-hour) days with two video cameras on each shoot in order to capture multiple angles of the emotion and reality of the experience. During the shooting period of four months one patient dropped out of the project due to his illness. After the project aired on television another patient passed away, which is a reality that our team has faced in creating patient focused content. This is why we recommended that the crew follow multiple patients. Other challenges included patients receiving unexpected news in the middle of the content gathering process, causing our producers to change directions and rework planned storylines.
The result was an Emmy®-winning series consisting of three half-hour television shows that aired in the Western New York region and on the hospital’s website. The show was so popular among the regional audience that it received higher Nielsen ratings than actress Amy Poehler’s popular sitcom “Parks and Recreation”, which typically aired during that same time. In the 14 months after the show aired, the hospital moved up from #50 to #43 in the prestigious U.S. News & World Report rankings. The program received a New York Emmy® Award from the National Academy of Television of Arts and Sciences.