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Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Focus On Your Lungs: A Screening You Don’t Want To Miss

Entered in Integrated Campaign, Multi-Platform Partnership, Multicultural Community Engagement, Pharma & Healthcare, Video Series


Although lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., when found early, before it has spread, it is more likely to be curable. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of their lung cancer risk and whether they are eligible for a lung cancer screening. As a result, in 2021, only 5.7% of people who were at high risk for the disease got screened.

A key reason for low screening rates is the stigma associated with lung cancer. Since it is often connected to smoking, smokers often blame themselves for the disease and are reluctant to seek help. Because of this stigma, there is also a lack of adequate education about lung cancer screening and its benefits, especially in historically underserved populations like the Black and Hispanic communities.

Merck is committed to providing patients and caregivers with support that goes beyond medicine by helping to address key challenges in lung cancer, including increasing education around the importance of lung cancer screenings among those at high risk for the disease.

Campaign Objectives

Strategy and Execution

Research and insights

Real Chemistry and Merck conducted a suite of primary and secondary research to understand the barriers to lung cancer screening and how it is discussed online. The research included a robust social analysis of the online lung cancer conversation by both patients and healthcare practitioners, one-on-one interviews with primary care physicians and pulmonologists and focus groups with patients. Additionally, we gleaned insights from discussions with our advocacy partners to further understand attitudes and barriers around lung cancer screening among the broader lung cancer community.


Execution and tactics

We partnered with cancer advocacy groups and influencers at high risk for lung cancer to launch an unbranded education campaign, Focus On Your Lungs: A Screening You Don’t Want To Miss.

In November 2022, during Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Merck launched the website, featuring videos relaying the personal stories of three influencers with genuine connections to lung cancer – two models – former smokers -- at high risk for lung cancer and a celebrity chef who lost his brother to lung cancer.

The website features downloadable resources to help patients and caregivers navigate the lung cancer screening process, including a fact sheet about low dose CT scans, doctor discussion guide, myths and facts about screening and an insurance coverage guide. The site also houses an interactive screening eligibility quiz to help people assess whether they are at a high risk of lung cancer a candidate for screening. 

How we reached our targets:   


Focus on Your Lungs moved thousands to either learn more about their eligibility for screening or prepare to visit a screening center!

Plus, our earned and paid media efforts ensured the campaign information was disseminated broadly and sparked engagement. (results from November and December ’22):


Video for Focus On Your Lungs: A Screening You Don’t Want To Miss

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Real Chemistry, Merck


Entry Credits