Photo credit: Julian Hanford
Photo credit: Julian Hanford
A view from Dave Trott

A view from Dave Trott: Common sense beats brains

Errol McKellar owns a garage in Hackney.

Like most garages, Errol’s does MOTs. 

Unlike most garages, Errol will cut 20 per cent off the cost of your MOT, on one condition.

You have to prove you’ve had a prostate cancer check. 

Why would he do that?

Surely if someone wanted a prostate cancer check, they’d just go and get one.

Errol doesn’t think so.

He knows, unlike women, most men won’t go anywhere near a doctor if they can help it.

But they will get an MOT for their car.

Errol knows most men take better care of their cars than they do their bodies.

So Errol is trying to make men treat their bodies the way they treat their cars.

He’s called his offer: "MOT YOURSELF."

It started when Errol’s wife complained about his snoring.

Errol ignored it, so his wife made an appointment for him to go to the doctor.

Which, as Errol said, meant he had to go.

While he was there, he noticed a poster saying Afro-Caribbean men were twice as likely to get prostate cancer.

They offered a free blood test that only took ten minutes.

Errol himself is black, so he took the test while he was waiting.

Although he had no symptoms, he found he had prostate cancer.

They caught it in time, so they were able to save Errol’s life.

Which made him determined to spread the word, any way he could.

So far, Errol has made his MOT offer to 3,000 men.

Two hundred have actually taken him up on it and got a prostate cancer test and an MOT discount.

Of those, 36 were found to have prostate cancer.

Thirty-four of those were caught in time and their lives were saved.

Two were diagnosed too late and died.

Still, that’s 34 lives saved by Errol’s MOT discount offer. 

Because, without the 20 per cent off, those men would never have bothered going for the test.

But Errol talked to them in their own language.

He didn’t just talk about prostate cancer being the second-biggest cancer in the UK.

He didn’t just talk about the 47,300 new cases every year.

He didn’t just talk about the 10,837 deaths every year.

He didn’t just talk about the 84 per cent survival rate.

Or the fact that Afro-Caribbean men are twice as likely to get it.

He didn’t just talk about any of the facts they’d already heard.

Because, being men, they don’t want to go to the doctors.

So they’ll just block the facts out.

So those facts won’t translate into action.

That’s why Errol talked to them in the language that makes sense to them.

Twenty per cent off your MOT makes sense.

Treating your body like your car makes sense.

That’s simple blue-collar language, not complicated medical terminology. 

Not statistics.

And so, thanks to Errol, several dozen men are walking around who otherwise wouldn’t be.

That’s a good deal.

That’s common sense. 

Dave Trott is the author of Creative Mischief, Predatory Thinking and One Plus One Equals Three