Breaking news from Darwin:

 The PR ladies at VIVA! Communications capped off a stellar year clinching Highly Commended (second place), in the category for Health Organisations, at the recent (October) 2010 Public Relations Industry of Australia (PRIA) National Awards for Excellence. The national recognition follows hot-on-the-heels of a win for the same ‘Trimming teens with gastric banding surgery’ campaign at the 2010 PRIA NSW Golden Target Awards in September at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

The ‘Trimming teens with gastric banding surgery’ campaign kicked off in February 2010, when we teamed with Australian researchers from Monash University and the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, to present and promote the results of ground-breaking, controversial research into laparoscopic adjustable gastric band (LAGB) surgery for severely obese adolescents.

 We exceeded our campaign objectives, and surpassed the expectations of our client, by achieving phenomenal national media attention. We secured 682 traditional media impressions nation-wide, with 98 per cent of these stories using the key messages compiled by VIVA!, resulting in overwhelmingly positive and highly accurate news media coverage.

It didn’t stop there! The media spotlight penetrated Australian borders, making headlines in major international media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The London Times and CNN; and newswires including Reuters, Bloomberg and Agence France Presse.

The campaign successfully ensured the outcomes of the gastric banding research became well known to both Australian and target international audiences, seeking to challenge entrenched attitudes towards the most effective weight loss methods for severely obese teens. The penultimate success of the campaign culminated in the release of new guidelines for bariatric surgery in severely obese adolescents by the Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP).

 “this type of surgery [should] only be considered in adolescents 15 years and over … and only then laparoscopic gastric banding should be considered, as it is a completely reversible procedure”.