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  • Writer's pictureTom Butler

Punching Above Our Weight Feels Real Good

Published on September 19, 2019

President at Butler Associates Public Relations and Chairman at Litical Solutions Mobile Advertising & Communications.

This week Butler Associates was among the communications & public relations firms and in-house corporate communications groups from across the nation to be honored at the 2019 Platinum PR Awards, presented by PR News. The grand ballroom at New York City’s Grand Hyatt Hotel was filled with dignitaries from across the agency world and client side.

Our team had the honor to be joined at our table with the communications team leaders from the American Medical Association, based in Chicago, who were being recognized for their innovative activism campaign “Changing the Conversation on Gun Violence” which motivated the AMA to actually declare it a public health crisis.

The Butler team was truly awed to be a finalist for the nation’s Best Cause Related Marketing Campaign, alongside several of America’s most-widely advertised and recognized brands, including Aflac, American Express, Chevron, Clorox, Estee Lauder Companies, Merck, Northrop Grumman and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. As boxing enthusiasts might say, we were punching above our weight class.

Butler earned its seat at the table in recognition of our 2018 campaign about the medical anomaly and stigma surrounding male breast cancer, which has spiked among members of the 9-11 community, who were in lower Manhattan in the months that followed the attacks on our nation.

Breast cancer in males is a rarity, striking only 1 in 100,000 in the USA. Among the 9-11 community of office workers, residents, students, teachers and first responders who were in lower Manhattan, our team’s direct, hands-on statistical digging first helped uncover the now more than 1,200% spike in the disease among men who were exposed to the toxins.

While the framework of our news features spotlighting this was seen by many millions via broadcast and cable, print, digital and social media, the real achievement goes far beyond coveted media impressions alone. This campaign has brought forward some real scientific implications.

When we launched the campaign in September 2018, we had 15 men from the 9-11 community who were coping with breast cancer and willing to share their personal story of struggle, suffering with a disease more commonly found in women. They spoke of denial and avoidance, in finally seeking medical help, eventual treatment, as well as seeking counseling and offering other sufferers peer support.

As the story was chronicled in the months to come across network television and syndicated to international news outlets, it led to another 17 males within that community also coming forward.

The true culmination of all this was when one of the world’s leading cancer research hospitals, Memorial Sloan Kettering announced it would be undertaking a genomic study of all 32 of the men, who agreed to participate. And nearly one-year later the Food & Drug Administration has joined the chorus to push in developing treatment drugs and the need for enhanced study of males afflicted.

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder this week, with some of those greatest American brand names – was a clear recognition that we got the job done in true entrepreneurial spirit with a fraction of the staff and budget as those big boys, and that our efforts to create and deliver this campaign can and will have tremendous medical impact.

I’ve often told my children, co-workers or anyone who’d listen, that when we have the capacity to put our feet on the floor each morning and the purpose we intend and can accomplish can provide some real, true impact, then are our talents are an asset to society and career fulfillment follows.

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