Imagine a well-known CEO on a mission to have every child in his community receive a flu shot. For free. In a matter of a month.
Now imagine the community is the populous San Francisco Bay Area, with literally hundreds of thousands of children of all socio-economic class.
So, how do you reach and influence parents to allow their children to receive a free flu shot? And how do you turn them into advocates, spreading the word, so that other parents follow suit? And how do you do it while remaining an anonymous donor?
First things first: find partners with the know-how to make it happen –one that can assist with the logistics of the program, and the other to produce creative, persuasive communication that delivers a credible argument to vaccinate in an approachable and relevant way.
For the logistics part, the donor contacted TotalWellness, a national corporate health and wellness provider, to assist with the implementation of the program. TotalWellness contacted Bailey Lauerman to help spread the word.
To make things even more interesting, Bailey Lauerman had only one week to develop, launch and promote the free flu shot program in a large metropolitan area with an equally large Spanish-speaking population. With no paid advertising and no on-the-ground support.
An area that’s already saturated with messaging in every nook and cranny.
Though it was an unusually tight deadline, Bailey Lauerman had the expertise to develop and execute a killer campaign that reached a fairly large audience through social and PR channels. One that delivered a message of education and entertainment, convincing each and every parent of the benefits of childhood flu vaccinations, while arming them with what they needed to spread the word in a non-preachy way.
In a short amount of time, our very talented and capable team developed:
- A catchy name, Shoo the Flu, identity, flu characters, stickers and shareable social badges
- A landing page to serve as the central hub for information that included a map of the Target Pharmacy® locations administering the shots, as well as flu myth busters and frequently asked questions – ShooTheFlu.org
- Facebook and Google+ pages
- Partnerships with key public schools and non-profits serving children
- Information distribution channels through local and state health departments
- Media buzz by pitching timely pieces as a national influenza story was breaking
- Stories that caught the attention of influential bloggers, including “mommy bloggers” in both the pro- and anti-vaccine camps
- Posters that were translated to Spanish in order to reach a wider demographic
Then, on the eve of the launch, the anonymous donor decided to be way less anonymous. We needed a communication strategy to attribute this grand community health gesture to Google CEO Larry Page and his wife, Lucy, through their Page Family Foundation. No problem.
The program launched without a hitch on December 1, 2012.
So how did it do? In the first week, Shoo The Flu was covered by some of the area’s most prominent newspapers and TV stations – San Francisco Chronicle; the local NPR affiliate, KQED-FM; Univision 14 KDTV-TV, a Hispanic-speaking television station.
It reached more than 31,000 Facebook users. Daily Shoo The Flu posts were shared on Google+ and Facebook, including one post shared by Larry Page on Google+.
In just a month, 1,500 flu shots were administered –that’s more than 20 times the normal amount of shots.
The campaign was so successful, the Pages decided to extend the free flu shots for another month.
By the end of the second month, a total of 4,865 shots were administered.
The campaign then went to exceed even more expectations by winning Best Social Media Campaign from Ragan’s 2013 PR Daily Awards, along with two honorable mentions for Best Cause-Related Campaign and Best Community Relations Campaign.
You have to admit, that’s some pretty good shooing of the flu.