September 25, 2007 at 9:13 pm 3 comments

This blog is about public relations, marketing, communications branding, but with a large focus on public relations.  I believe most marketing/public relations theories apply in all industries.  So with that thought, here goes a post entitled ‘family’.

Every family must be able to find at least one good public relations story within it.  Someone within your family must have lived some type of media announcement, media frenzy or crisis communication story.  Many may have to dig a little deeper than others, while others can scan just the surface for that certain relative.

Aside from my job of working in public relations, my family has a scientific brother who is known by in his field as Dr. Jay Boniface, as my brother he is John Jay Boniface, and he has a great PR story, and very recent it is.

Jay works for Myriad Genetics located in Salt Lake City.  Myriad Genetics, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on the development and marketing of novel therapeutic and molecular diagnostic products.  On September 10 of this year, Myriad announced through a press release,, a new public awareness campaign  known as the BRACAnalysis(R) Awareness Campaign — designed to reach women with a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, and the healthcare providers that treat them.  Very interesting stuff from a marketing/public relations standpoint, but more interesting to those who have, who could be predisposed to, or to those who have somehow been affected by breast cancer.  I would say clearly in my circle of friends and family, that is just about everybody.  The test that is being marketed in the Northeast section of our country, largely during prime time TV ads, promotes the use of a blood test, BRACAnalysis which identifies high-risk women so they can take steps to reduce their risk for these cancers.

The press release itself was very well composed, and it was picked up by the most major outlets in our country, possibly internationally.  It said straight out that the purpose was to ‘save lives.’  I personally think that is a great purpose.

But interestingly, after the announcement was made, not everyone reacted positively to the announcement.  The New York Times article discussed the fact that “Critics say that advertising such a complex screening test to the general population might create unnecessary anxiety among women.”  Now I am not a scientific person at all, I am a public relations professional and also a prospective audience member of the discussed TV ads; and according to the facts that I have read before hearing about Myriad’s tests, I am already anxious about breast cancer just knowing so many that have it.  On top of that look at these numbers:

According to the American Cancer Society women living in North America have the highest rate of breast cancer in the world.  The chance of developing invasive breast cancer at some time in a woman’s life is about 1 in 8.  If you are female and reading this, imagine sitting in a room with seven other friends knowing that one of you will get breast cancer.   Estimated new cases and deaths from breast cancer in the United States in 2007 by the National Cancer Institute are: 

New cases: 178,480; Deaths: 40,460

Estimated new cases and deaths from ovarian cancer in the United States in 2007:
New cases: 22,430; Deaths: 15,280; almost 75% will die.
Maybe the new cases of ovarian cancer are not as high as breast cancer cases, but the death rate panics me. 

Am I scared about a decision about taking a test, or am I scared about the numbers stated above?  Think about it.  Ok done, it doesn’t take long to answer that, does it. 

The results mentioned in the Times articles of Myriad’s press release are just astonishing to me; the fact that anyone would criticize their proactiveness, progressiveness.  It is a blood test.  We have a choice in whether to have it.  We have a choice on what action to take if there is a positive result.  And if I am not mistaken, the general population hears about heart medications; cholesterol drugs, and drugs for erectile dysfunction on national TV all the time.  Do those cause panic? 

So the jest of this post and the lesson to be learned, is the fact that I believe that the reaction to their announcement has caused some clamor, some negative; but most will react to the response of negativity as business jargon which has actually benefited Myriad from a PR standpoint in bringing more attention to them in their quest to provide tools that will fight this horrendous disease.   

I dedicate this post to my dear friend Susan Conde – 1954 – 2006, who succumbed to breast cancer after a 10 year battle.  Her cancer went from the breast to the brain, eye, bones, lungs and liver; and whose family has lost five members to cancer.

Entry filed under: Marketing, Public Relations.

Difference Dream

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jeannie  |  September 26, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    Great blog, Suzanna. “Family” is an interesting term, in that most everyone, especially women, have so many different types of “families” in their lives. By the way, kudos, to your brother Jay. He must get his smarts from his sister.

  • 2. CD Interest Rates  |  October 26, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    I commend you on your perspective and it is frustrating to hear about the negative reaction from some news sources. Although, it would seem that the news media survivies on taking the negative side of things.

    My mom had breast cancer when I was 12; she survived. My wife has run for the Susan Komen, Race for a Cure for the last two years. I have two daughters and it is a real concern and the statistics are real.

    Thank you for providing a positive outlet for the press release.

    Jumbo CD Investments, Inc.

  • 3. Mari  |  November 3, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    This is a very good post, and I agree with you. Anything to save lives is a good thing! Thank you for sharing this story.


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About Me

Suzanne M. Boniface; Latest nickname: Suzanna; Public Relations, Marketing, Communications Consultant and Speaker - forever; writer and now blogger
Experience in credit unions/banking, non-profits, corporate and technology industries.
Mother of 2 boys - the best forever. Grandaughter, Julianna and second grandchild on the way.
Board member Ad Club of Western MA; Boston Road Business Association; Pioneer Valley Plan for Progress Trustee; President Westfield State Alumni Association Executive Council

Statements of Importance About Me!

Never gives up! Never forgets!


May 2010 - Speaker Westfield State College Commencement April 2010 - Speaker Cost Effective Small Business Marketing
April 2010 - Speaker WNEC Communications Conference
February 2009 - Speaker Social Media - Human Service
September 2009 - Speaker Wilbraham Rotary Luncheon
May 2009 - Writing for Westfield State FOCUS
April 2009 - Speaker Westfield State College, Alumni Mentor Day
January 2009 - Speaker - WNEC and Valley Press Club Communications Conference
January 2009 - Speaker - West Springfield Rotary Luncheon
July 2008 - Article in Credit Union Management Magazine

Contact info:

The Greatest of Quotes!

"be the change you wish to see in the world" - Gandhi ................................................. "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" - Einstein


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