MRA and BJ’s Wholesale Club Partner to Launch May Campaign

By Pamela Goldsmith, MRA Director of Communications | 3 April 2017 | Allies & Partnerships, Prevention

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In today’s dynamic research environment, working as a team is more valuable than ever.  At the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), we know our ability to unlock the most innovative and effective treatments for melanoma relies on the strengths of our partnerships.  MRA regularly enters into alliances with corporations and nonprofits that become essential partners who help us realize our vision. 

This May, in an effort to spotlight Melanoma Awareness month, BJ’s Wholesale Club, a warehouse club operating in 15 states and headquartered in Massachusetts, will launch its first awareness campaign in partnership with MRA to highlight the importance of prevention.

As with so many partnerships that develop organically, BJ’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, Bob Eddy, befriended MRA board member Jonathan Sokoloff who also serves on the board of BJ’s Wholesale Club. After learning Eddy had a family member effected by melanoma, Sokoloff acquainted him with MRA’s partnerships, reasoning that collaboration between the two would likely be a natural fit.

Eddy says, not only did the mission of MRA resonate, he felt that BJ’s products would offer a great platform for helping to educate younger families about the risks of skin cancer. He also knew the campaign presented a perfect opportunity for BJ’s to partner with its suppliers to raise funds for melanoma research. 

“As someone who has a family member that was diagnosed with melanoma, I know all too well the effect that skin cancer can have on a family,” says Eddy. “I am elated that this partnership will shed light on the fact that people can impact their chances of experiencing this disease, just by thinking about their sun exposure.” 

Eddy’s wife, Christine, was diagnosed with Stage III metastatic melanoma 9 years ago. “She was only 36 years old at the time, and we had two very young children,” says Eddy.  “It was an incredibly scary time for a young family, given the lack of available treatment options.”

Eddy’s wife was treated by Dr. Stephen Hodi, at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, who Eddy claims was instrumental in not only Christine’s successful recovery, but in recent increases in treatment options as well. Hodi is a on the MRA Medical Advisory Panel and in 2014 received an MRA Academic Industry Partnership Award to research ‘combined CTLA-4 and angiopoietin-2 blockade in advanced melanoma patients.’ 

Having, as Eddy describes, beaten the odds, he explains that he and his wife are committed to making a marked impact on the disease and believe the recent partnership with MRA creates an ideal path for them to do so.

“The great benefit of these partnerships is that they utilize the strengths of both organizations to reach consumers and can create impact in ways that just aren’t possible alone,” says Eddy. He explains that tapping into their suppliers to help raise funds would be difficult to carry out on their own.  He claims it’s the power of partnerships that helps to emphasize the importance of a cause and validate why it’s so vital to develop campaigns like the one initiated with MRA.

In implementing the campaign, the Wholesale Club decided to utilize a reverse of point sale that allows vendors to be recognized for their donation to MRA. The company developed an extensive promotional plan by creating full page ads and associated vendor ads, that include MRA, to be distributed to their six million members; massive signage in all 225 stores; corner pallet markers for top-sponsoring vendors; shelf talker promotions for various other vendors; an exclusive email dedicated to the MRA that is promoted to 3 million subscribers and additional ads created for continuing emails and social media throughout the month of May.

Eddy says he hopes the result of the May campaign will ultimately be that more of BJ’s members take note of what they can do to protect themselves and their children from skin cancer. “I’d like to see the funds raised by this partnership make a meaningful contribution to research that helps advance treatments for melanoma and brings us closer to a cure,” says Eddy.

Awareness Advocacy Partners