Newport Gets Direct Mail Work for Osteoporosis Foundation

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The National Osteoporosis Foundation has named Newport Creative Communications, Duxbury, MA, as its direct mail fundraising agency on a $1.4 million account.

A number of agencies pitched, though only four made the final round. Creative Direct Response International, Crofton, MD, was the incumbent.

"The mandate is to work with them to help increase overall income and to broaden the brand to include not just programs dealing with treating and research into osteoporosis, but also to promote the benefit of strong bones," said Victor Schlitzer, vice president and creative director of Newport.

Founded 16 years ago, Newport specializes in nonprofit advertising and marketing. It has clients like the American Diabetes Association, a variety of Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals chapters and Childreach, formerly Foster Parents Plan. Billings last year were $40 million.

For its work on the osteoporosis foundation, the agency will use direct mail to reach out to donors and prospects. It will offer strategic planning, creative services and production management.

"Basically their positioning statement is, 'Healthy Bones, Build Them for Life,'" Schlitzer said.

Messaging will be consistent with the other tactics -- market research, focus groups and public relations -- employed by the Washington-based foundation.

Osteoporosis and low bone mass threaten an estimated 55 percent of the U.S. population older than 50, according to the foundation. That puts 44 million people at risk this year. Of that, 30 million are women.

An estimated 75,000 people die each year after suffering a fractured hip within the previous 12 months. It costs the United States an estimated $17 billion a year to treat fractures from osteoporosis.

Since its creation in 1985, the foundation has spread awareness of the prevalence of osteoporosis and low bone mass. Advocacy, public education and research are used. The nonprofit also stresses preventative measures that can reduce the incidence of osteoporosis.

"I think they're an under-appreciated disease, for lack of a better term," Schlitzer said. "It is also perceived as being an old person's disease. Actually, one can have it for many years without knowing. So it is asymptomatic until a fracture occurs but loss of bone strength and density can begin at a much early stage.

"We're trying to help NOF deliver a message that corrects the misimpression and bring a greater understanding to people about the importance of developing strong and healthy bones," he said.

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