‘Sesame Street’ tapped for new flu PSAs
WASHINGTON The Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind “Sesame Street,” have teamed up to launch a new, national public service advertising campaign designed to encourage American children and families to practice healthy habits and to take steps to prevent the spread of the 2009 H1N1 flu virus, according to a press release issued Tuesday.
During the spring, the Sesame Workshop produced four different versions of a television PSAs featuring Sesame Street’s Elmo and Gordon explaining the importance of practicing such healthy habits as washing your hands, sneezing into the bend of your arm, and avoiding contact with your eyes, nose and mouth. They have now been reformatted to promote www.flu.gov, the federal government’s one-stop Web site for all the latest information on the new H1N1 virus and the seasonal flu. The PSAs will be distributed nationwide and will be supported in airtime donated by television stations.
“We are thrilled to partner with Elmo, Gordon and Sesame Workshop again to emphasize the steps kids and their parents can take to stay happy and healthy this school year,” stated HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Younger children and their parents are some of the people most at risk from the new H1N1 flu virus and with schools starting back up again and the weather starting to get colder, we need to do everything we can to get these important messages about how to prevent the spread of the flu out there.”
In late May, Sesame Workshop first partnered with HHS on a new PSA campaign focused on the importance of providing parents, teachers and children with accurate information about how to practice healthy habits, highlighting proper hand washing and simple everyday actions that lead to staying healthy and keeping germs away. The PSAs are an extension of Sesame’s Healthy Habits for Life Initiative, which helps young children and their caregivers establish an early foundation of healthy habits.
On a global scale, Sesame Workshop was the first nonprofit to respond to the flu outbreak in Mexico, with the immediate creation of four PSAs featuring the beloved Muppets of Plaza Sesamo and several Mexican celebrities who donated their time to the cause. The flu prevention messaging has reached millions of children and their families both in Mexico and the United States.
The PSAs are part of an initiative to provide practical steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help prevent the spread of the flu virus and other infectious disease.
NPD Group: Sales decline in U.S. prestige beauty category
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. The U.S. prestige beauty industry posted a 7% decline in the first half of the year, according to The NPD Group, indicating that consumers are still cautious and willing to spend money only on those items they find personally meaningful or worthy of the investment.
Sales of U.S. prestige beauty dropped 7% to $3.7 billion during the first half of 2009, with June 2009 marking the 11th consecutive month of negative prestige beauty performance.
Prestige fragrance took a major hit during the first half of the year with sales declining 10% to $1 billion,compared with the year-ago period. Both women’s and men’s prestige fragrances posted 10% declines from a year-ago, The NPD Group stated.
U.S. prestige skin care suffered the worst first half for skin care in the past three years but still had the softest losses of all beauty categories in terms of both dollars and units. Sales of U.S. prestige skin care dropped 6% to $1.2 billion.
Set & kits and hair were the only segments to show positive dollar growth in the first half of 2009 with set & kits up 8% in dollars and 8% in units.
Hair, although modest, had an increase of 1% in dollars and 4% in units. Face, body and sun experienced a weak first half, down in both dollars and units.
Facial moisturizer sales, which accounted for nearly one-fourth of new products sales in the first half of 2009, posted a dollar increase of 2%.
Meanwhile, makeup sales in U.S. department stores totaled $1.5 billion, down 7% in dollars, compared with the year-ago period. All segments (face, eye, lip, gift sets, other color and nail) posted declines ranging from 3% to 20%, according to NPD Group.
While overall new launch makeup dollar volume dipped 7%, new makeup face product sales grew in both dollar and unit volume, led by double-digit increases in foundation, blush, concealer and other face. New mascara sales posted an increase of 4% and new lip color sales soared 47%.
Study finds high-quality, low-cost services at retail-based clinics
WOONSOCKET, R.I. A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded retail-based clinics provide care at lower costs and equal or better quality than other urgent care options, according to MinuteClinic.
The Rand Corp. study was based in part on data from MinuteClinic.
Researchers reviewed the experiences of 2,100 patients treated in clinics in Minnesota in 2005 and 2006 for middle ear infections, sore throats and urinary tract infections.
The study found that quality of care at retail clinics is on par with doctor’s offices, urgent care centers and emergency rooms for certain services. The study found that the costs of treating acute illnesses at retail clinics were 30% to 40% lower than in physicians’ offices and urgent care centers, and 80% lower than emergency departments.
“This affirms our internal data, which shows that costs for caring for common illnesses at retail clinics are significantly lower than other venues, such as doctors’ offices, urgent care centers and emergency rooms,” stated Dr. Andrew J. Sussman, president and COO of MinuteClinic. “Additionally, the study shows why our customer satisfaction ratings exceed 90%; patients get quality care at an affordable price.”
Minneapolis-based MinuteClinic, which is owned by CVS Caremark, operates about 500 clinics in 25 states.