CBS flush with new ideas for PSA

Network promotes colonoscopy sweepstakes

CBS is promoting a colonoscopy sweepstakes in primetime.

As part of its CBS Cares public service initiative, the network is offering a four-night stay in New York to one lucky winner. Oh — and a free colonoscopy, to be performed by Dr. Paul Miskovitz, a leading gastroenterologist and expert on colorectal cancer.

The tongue-in-cheek (pun intended) spots feature over-the-top “Late Show With David Letterman” announcer Alan Kalter, along with Broadway star Patti LuPone, lying smack down on a hospital bed.

In other words, they don’t look like your normal, snooze-inducing public service announcements But the contest is very real.

“We’ve done a lot of PSAs surrounding getting a colonoscopy, and all the things Katie Couric has done,” said CBS Corp. planning/policy/government relations exec VP Marty Franks, “but there was also a feeling from the medical community that we ought to try humor.”

Franks said CBS has gotten some blowback from people who don’t like the idea of such topics being freely discussed on TV. And the Eye has been cautious about when the spots air (they’ve been seen during such sitcoms as “How I Met Your Mother” and reality shows like “The Amazing Race,”). But otherwise, the reaction has been “terrific,” he said.

“We don’t want PSAs to be part of the background noise,” Franks added.

The contest itself is open to U.S. residents between the ages of 40 and 79 only. Take that, younger viewers!

Anyone entering the contest because of the free trip to New York ought to first brush up on what exactly a colonoscopy entails. Warns the network: “The hardest part is the preparation the night before when you drink a laxative.”

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