In honor of Halloween, horror movies and the fight against cancer, Fright Night Awards creator, and producer, Mike Burg is here to talk about the awards show, the importance of raising cancer awareness and research for the cure. The Fright Night Awards is an online, virtual awards show presented by Cancer Bites.
The winners of the 2012 Fright Night Awards will be announced Wednesday, October 31st at http://www.cancerbites.tv/ Be sure and cast your vote and support a great cause!
What propelled you to create the FRIGHT NIGHT AWARDS?
We created the Fright Night Awards to serve two unique but connected purposes. At the hub, we were looking for a property that could promote our Cancer Bites blood cancer education initiative. Our Cancer Bites campaign is designed to use the appeal of celebrity vampires to attract people to learn more about diseases of the blood. By creating the Fright Night Awards and linking it to Cancer Bites we were able to use the iconic holiday of Halloween and all of the vampire related promotion around it to create a broad awareness of the Cancer Bites campaign.
With over 100,000 voters, strong media pick-up and social media buzz we’ve been able to introduce a valuable campaign through the use of a very timely entertainment property like the Fright Night Awards. In addition to the link to Cancer Bites we saw the opportunity to create a new entertainment franchise in the Halloween space. With over $8 billion spent by the public on Halloween we thought it was natural to create an annual property celebrating the holiday and igniting it onto TV next year.
What has creating the FRIGHT NIGHT AWARDS, taught you about the fight against cancer, and what it means to be a cancer survivor?
The Fright Night Awards are a perfect example of how entertainment and pop culture can help cut through the clutter when it comes to health messaging. As a blood cancer survivor (Hodgkin’s disease) it would have been great if at my time of diagnosis something such as Cancer Bites and the Fright Night Awards existed.
Using the celebrity appeal of a campaign like the Fright Night Awards puts you high on the radar of the general public and makes your messaging more accessible to the general population.
What has been the most memorable/inspiring moment for you since you began developing the FRIGHT NIGHT AWARDS ?
The most fulfilling/inspiring moment relates to the immediate attraction the public had to these awards. Through the tremendous media coverage and fan support it let our team know that we created a property that people cared about. If they care about it then they will pay attention to it, and if they pay attention to it the opportunity to create effective messaging exists.
When coming up with the FRIGHT NIGHT AWARDS how did the concept of combining scary movies, Halloween, and cancer evolve?
Our company Edge Health focuses on tying celebrity platforms to health causes. We have a prostate cancer campaign, On The Line, that associates celebrity sports figures with this male disease. We also have a cancer survivorship platform, Kaleidoscope, that uses iconic Olympians and Grammy award winning musical artist to express themes around cancer survivorship.
How has surviving your own battle with blood cancer affected your view of the strives we’ve made in finding a cure for the disease, and as a survivor did you ever find it hard to coordinate this event?
Cancer Bites and the Fright Night Awards was inspired by my own battle against blood cancer. If a program such as Cancer Bites had existed when I was diagnosed it would have been a phenomenal resource and would have dramatically aided my journey in battling this disease. As so many helped me in my own battle against blood cancer I felt compelled to give back and help others through my experience in entertainment and marketing.
What was your goal for the Fright Night Awards and have they changed from when you first started?
The goal for it has not changed, however the acceptance level and excitement the public has shown has made me realize that we can really make a difference around getting the publics’ attention on blood cancers.
What misconceptions exist about this disease, and what can people do to educate themselves about the fight against this cancer?
People aren’t aware that blood cancers as a whole are the 4th most common type of blood cancer and that once every 4 minutes someone else in this country is diagnosed with a blood cancer. The Fright Night Awards and the Cancer Bites program will help the public better understand the basics of these diseases and hopefully help raise additional funds for research in curing these diseases. Additionally, for those dealing with blood cancer the Cancer Bites resource is a well vetted, easy to understand resource site about all types of cancers affecting the blood.
Why do you think certain cancer’s get more attention than others do? And how does this negatively influence or setback the overall battle against cancer?
Clearly breast cancer gets more attention than any other malignancy. Great marketing and passionate survivors have brought this disease to the forefront. While the emphasis on breast cancer is terrific, it certainly has the impact of lessening the public awareness of other equally as common cancers. For example, prostate cancer is more common in men than breast cancer is in women, yet the attention and fund raising opportunities around prostate cancer are dwarfed by the breast cancer campaigns.
As a general rule women are much more passionate about their health issues and men often take a backseat in regards to their own healthcare. Hopefully this is a trend that can be reversed and as it relates to prostate cancer men can “man up” and help bring an equal awareness to this tough disease.
Favorite horror movie/monster?
The Exorcist and Jaws.
What does being brave mean to you?
Being brave means pushing through adversity when realizing you don’t know the outcome.
What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with blood cancer?
When I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease, after panicking, the first thing I did was read Lance Armstrong’s “It’s Not About The Bike”.
The book calmed my fears as it accurately explained the many emotions you feel upon diagnosis. It will be human nature to immediately want to get on the internet to read about your disease. Go to cancerbites.tv and accurately learn what you are dealing with so as not to be scared by potential false opinions that you can find on other websites.
What’s next for you after the “FRIGHT NIGHT AWARDS” in 2012?
The announcement of the Fright Night Awards winners will lead directly to the official launch of the Cancer Bites website at cancerbites.tv. This is a web portal that will grow over time giving understandable information to all those dealing with blood cancer. On Thanksgiving weekend we air our cancer survivorship special; Kaleidoscope on CBS. Kaleidoscope is a music and skating extravaganza that airs Sunday November 25th right after the NFL on CBS.
Where can my readers find out more about your campaign?
The best place to learn about the campaign is cancerbites.tv