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December 20, 2009

Bridging the gap between women and pregnancy centers Heroic Media uses TV and billboard ads to save lives

By Joyce Duriga


Television spots and billboards urging young women in crisis pregnancy situations to seek help should soon be seen around the Chicago area.

Heroic Media, an Austin, Texas-based non-profit, is raising money to launch its first 13-week advertising campaign in January. The group said it needs $750,000 to $1 million to do the first campaign. Three anonymous donors from the Chicago area have already given money to cover operating costs for the group’s new Palatine office for three years. Any money raised for the first three years will go directly to the purchasing television or billboard advertising.

Heroic Media, an outreach of Majella Cares, began in 2004 and uses market research to develop mass-media campaigns aimed at helping women in unplanned pregnancies make informed choices about their baby, and to know help is available to them if they need it. Ads have appeared in Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and now, Chicago.

Connecting the parties

Each ad that Heroic Media places provides an 800-number and text-message address where a woman can find help. When the woman calls or texts, a person on the other end determines what the woman’s immediate needs are (Shelter? Medical help? Financial assistance? Counseling?). Next, they determine what area the woman lives in and locate the nearest crisis-pregnancy center. Last, they connect the woman directly to a staff member at the crisis pregnancy center.

It’s all about the connection.

“Our charism is to get her to make the call,” said Allen Ptack, director of development for Heroic Media’s Palatine office. Ptack is a parishioner at St. Mary Parish in Buffalo Grove and previously worked for Relevant Radio.

He said he was motivated to “give back to God” following the death of his wife from cancer and came in touch with Heroic Media.

He said the group discovered that there is a need for someone or something to bridge the gap between women in crisis pregnancy situations and pregnancy centers who can give them the support they need to choose life for their baby.

“We’re fulfilling that niche that’s missing,” Ptack said.

Promoting the centers

The ads don’t criticize or proselytize. They are developed with the women in mind and designed to be non-threatening and nonconfrontational.

The goal is to let the pregnant woman know she is not alone.

Founder Brian Follett described Heroic Media as being an “advertising agency” for the pregnancy centers.

While not specifically a Catholic organization, the group was founded by Catholics and named itself originally after St. Gerard Majella, patron saint of pregnant women.

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