Today's News

Saturday, March 13, 2004

2004 PSA campaign to focus on safety, exercise

By Mary Ann Porucznik

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) launched its 2004 multimedia public service announcement (PSA) campaign on Wednesday during the opening ceremonies of its 71st Annual Meeting. The campaign uses striking images and attention-getting copy to focus on important issues such as patient safety, osteoporosis and the need for exercises.

"This is the fourth year that the AAOS has prepared a comprehensive public service campaign," noted John M. Purvis, MD, chair of the public education and media relations committee. "Previous campaigns have been well-received by both the public and the fellowship, and have won several awards. PSAs make the statement that, as orthopaedists, we care about our patients' health and safety. They can stimulate inquiries from patients and provide a way to propose health or patient safety suggestions. Because the ads include the AAOS Web site address, they help point patients to a reliable source of additional information on musculoskeletal conditions."

The 2004 PSA campaign includes three print ads, three versions of a television spot (60, 30 and 15 seconds in length) and both prerecorded versions and live announcer scripts for two radio spots (60, 30 and 15 seconds long).

Print ads

The Academy partnered with the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) on a print ad that focuses on the "Sign Your Site" campaign. Playing off a child's nursery rhyme, the ad asks, "And which little piggy is about to have surgery?" The accompanying photograph leaves no doubt. It depicts a patient in a bed, ankles crossed, with one toe marked for surgery. The copy explains the program and encourages patients to "relax-it'll only tickle." The ad features the "Patient safety is no accident" tagline developed by AAOS for its patient safety activities.

Eliminating wrong-site, wrong-procedure and wrong-patient surgery has long been a goal of the Academy. In 2003, it also became one of the National Patient Safety Goals for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). The AAOS has endorsed JCAHO's "Universal Protocol for Eliminating Wrong-Site, Wrong-Procedure, Wrong-Person Surgery."

"The keystone of AAOS patient safety efforts has always been 'Sign Your Site,'" said Dr. Purvis. "Now that this activity has been endorsed nationally and incorporated into the JCAHO Universal Protocol, our ads can be helpful in reminding everyone of the importance of proper procedure, patient and site identification. We are especially pleased to partner on this effort with the AOFAS." Dr. Purvis also noted that the posters work great in the operating room, in pre-anesthesia rooms and even on operative permits.

The second ad continues the "Get up. Get out. Get moving" theme introduced two years ago. Pointing out that "You've got 206 reasons not to be a lazybones," the ad depicts a large bone relaxing in a hammock. The copy explains that bones continue to change throughout life, either by building and maintaining strength or by becoming weak and porous. Staying in shape through weight-bearing exercise is critical.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50 percent of American adults do not get enough physical activity to provide health benefits; 25 percent of adults are not active at all in their leisure time. Furthermore, there are racial and ethnic differences in physical activity rates, particularly among women.

The third ad examines the link between fractures and osteoporosis. Recent research has shown that patients with a low-energy fracture at any skeletal site have a two- to six-fold greater risk for refracture than those who have never had a fracture. A slip and fall in the tub, infers the ad, can be a "really bad break" if the fracture is a signal of underlying bone loss. The ad recommends a bone density test and lifestyle changes such as better nutrition and weight-bearing exercise to help prevent future fractures.

Radio Announcements

The Academy's first radio spot, Sedentary Family, reinforces the "get up, get out and get moving" message. Over the sounds of a race track, the announcer follows "Dad, on the inside, reaching for the remote…" and later notes "you can't get much exercise jockeying for the remote." The spot calls for weight-bearing exercise before you lose bone mass.

A second spot features the Trampolice, ever watchful for unsafe trampoline activities. The message points out that backyard trampolines recently sent 90,000 kids to the emergency room in one year and includes injury prevention tips such as using protective padding and an adult spotter.

"The Trampolice radio spot balances our recommendations for kids to be active with a strong caution about the dangers of trampolines," said Dr. Purvis. "It reflects our concern for patient safety outside the health care arena. Although it carries the same message as our Position Statement, it's a lot spunkier!"


The AAOS 2004 television spot hopes to capitalize on the enthusiasm generated by its award-winning 2002 television spot, "Sedentary." The sequel, "Lazybones," features the music of Leon Redbone, performing a custom version of his hit, "Lazybones." It is available in three versions: 60 seconds, 30 seconds and 15 seconds.

Recent statistics indicate that Americans are worse than sedentary…they're stationary. The commercial depicts several ways that people avoid exercise such as using the riding mower to drive to the mailbox. Although the visuals generate chuckles, they also make an important point: an increasing number of individuals are not getting sufficient recommended daily exercise. Obesity is now the nation's number one health problem, and two out of three people are either overweight or obese.


This year, to meet digital needs of larger publications, the AAOS has put its print ads on CD, rather than hard copy. A total of 44 orthopaedic state societies are partnering with the Academy to add their name along with the Academy's as a tagline to the television spots distributed in their states. Campaign materials go nationally to 1,000 television/cable outlets, 3,000 radio outlets, and 7,000 print outlets such as magazines, weekly and daily newspapers. In addition, the public service messages will be featured on display ads in more than 200 airports nationwide.

Academy members can view the new PSA campaign materials in a display in the Resource Center. All print ads are available in poster and postcard sizes and can be ordered as part of the Community Orthopaedic Awareness Program for a minimum shipping and handling fee only.

The campaign components were created by the Academy's department of public education and media relations and outside advertising agency, August, Lang and Husak Advertising Inc., of Bethesda, Md. The Academy's public service campaigns have won more than 35 national and international awards.

Previous Page
2004 Academy News 2004 Academy News March 13 Index B

Last modified 01/March/2004