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Monday, May 31, 2010

It takes a community to stop Liver Cancer and Hepatitis B

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The recent launch of San Francisco Hep B Free’s new ad campaign has created quite a stir, not just for its provocative "Which One Deserves to Die" message that highlights the shocking statistic that one in ten Asians is chronically infected with hepatitis B, but also for the cost to produce such a complex and broad-scale citywide campaign.

How did a small, non-profit organization with a very tight budget manage to roll out a public health campaign worth over a million dollars?

"This is a community that cares deeply about its own," says Christine Hsu, Project Director of SF Hep B Free. "We reached out to local businesses, media outlets, community groups and everyday individuals and asked them to participate. They got behind us en masse, and we can't thank them enough for their support."

Ten people from San Francisco's diverse Asian communities are featured in each ad theme. Pageant queens, physicians, basketball players and others can be seen on television, billboards, buses, METRO/BART stations, newspapers, and online. All of the sixty models were volunteers from the community, and numerous businesses donated their services, including DAE Advertising who provided advertising direction for nine months, pro bono.

"Not many productions we work on actually have the opportunity to save lives," said Dennis Chang of Amusa Films, the film director who donated his time to direct the commercials along with his producer, Michael Siu. "Telling a compelling story that the audience can immediately identify with was essential to the effectiveness of the overall campaign."

Nick Wong, General Manager of the elegant Tommy Toys Restaurant, said, "When they asked me if they could film the commercial at our restaurant, I didn’t hesitate to say yes." The commercial features ten members of an Asian family taking a family portrait during dinner.

"A small organization like ours doesn’t normally have big budgets to work with," said Ted Fang, Co-Founder, SF Hep B Free who shepherded the campaign’s development. "We have the community behind us, alliances, partnerships and resources, but more funding is needed to continue the work we do and to help other groups wanting to replicate Hep B Free in their cities that are turning to us for advice and support."

The campaign has received national attention and has been featured in The New York Times, CBS, PBS, and other local and national media. Visit SFhepBfree.org for more information.

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