Women's Cancer Center

Attracting dollars, then patients, for a new women's cancer center. 

The Story
While the Swedish Cancer Institute is the oldest and largest cancer treatment program in Western Washington, its market share has been challenged in recent years by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance — an affiliation between academic medical and research centers. One counter-strategy from Swedish is the establishment of the area's only cancer center specifically for women: The True Family Women's Cancer Center. Largely funded through philanthropy, our assignment was to help build pre-construction interest in contributing to the Center, and then market the facility and programs to new patients.

The Solution
For the fund-raising phase, we suggested making a strong visual statement about how the True Center would bring together programs now scattered all over the Swedish campus. Our concept involved placing pink egg chairs in the clinics that would eventually be under the single roof of the True Center, along with posters and brochures that explained the program and the need. Once the Center opened, we created a separate print and radio campaign that built awareness for the idea (and need) for a treatment center that took into account the way cancer needs to be treated differently for women.

The Results
The pink chairs quickly took on a life of their own at Swedish, making appearances at public events, on TV programs, and across Swedish campuses. By the end of the fund-raising period, more than 2,500 donors had contributed $11 million, exceeding the original $10 million goal. From a volume standpoint, the True Center was an instant success, with more than 15,000 patient encounters — including 3,485 surgical visits and 6,149 medical oncology visits — taking place in the first six months of operation.