Yahoo Taps Celebrities to Blog about Cancer

Rohitblog_blogforhope_1 In a fascinating combination of blog culture and pop/celebrity culture (something Yahoo is getting better and better at – probably thanks to Terry Semel) – the new Blog for Hope is a partnership between the site and the American Cancer Society designed as a 30-day event which enlists the help of celebrities such as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Fran Drescher (aka The Nanny) and Deepak Chopra to "share the triumphs, insights, and personal stories of how cancer has affected their lives."  Ultimately the goal is to connect individuals and build awareness and help bring an end to cancer.  Check out Lisa Brown‘s post for some great details on how the idea got started.

The idea of enlisting celebrity posts is not new – notable examples such as Huffington Post have been out there for some time … however this combination of celebrity, health and social marketing is a new manifestation of eadvocacy that I find intriguing.  Will this effort result in a groundswell of activities among bloggers to build awareness of an issue that has relevance for the entire world?  It was a similar question we began to explore through our efforts in the blogosphere to help a friend and colleague, Shari Kurzrok, to find a liver donor.  Yahoo, the American Cancer Society, and (to a lesser degree) my colleagues at Ogilvy have all struggled with the same challenge recently: harnessing the power of blogs and consumer generated media to build awareness of a social issue, and move readers from awareness to belief.  In our experience, awareness was significant – with hundreds of sites talking about Shari and linking to her blog site.  I imagine Yahoo’s Blog for Hope will accomplish the same thing on behalf of cancer and cancer research.   

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