Check Yo Nutz

Check You Nutz!Yes, you heard me: Check Yo Nutz!

That’s the name of a new health education campaign launched today by Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Canisius College. The goal is to raise awareness about testicular cancer and teach the importance of self examination. It’s an irreverent take on a heavy subject, complete with a mascot named Sammy the Squirrel. Here’s the mission statement:

Sammy the Squirrel knows the importance of checking his nutz and encourages males 15 to 40 to check theirs too. You think we’re nutz; we think we’re saving lives.

My favorite part is what they’re handing out: little squeezy foam acorns (pictured) that are fun to hold in your hand, toss at your friends, or just leave sitting on your desk at work. Like the real thing. Acorns, that is.

The campaign started as the brainchild of a Canisius College communication class (yes, I know it’s Canisius week on my blog) and was later picked up by Roswell — and while the Check Yo Nutz campaign is hilarious, testicular cancer is no joke.

The Amercican Cancer Institute estimated that about 8,400 new cases would be diagnosed in 2009 — and that it would kill nearly 400 men. It’s important to catch it early — and testicular self-exams are the key. The disease is most common in young men, exactly the people who will find this funny.

Roswell Park should be applauded for being smart and savvy enough to put their name on the Nutz campaign. One could easily imagine a concept like this being axed by the sort of uptight prudes who kill many great ideas. You’re never going to bore people into action. Engage and entertain them and they will remember your message — even if it’s a very serious message.

Anyway, gentlemen: Check Yo Nutz.

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