#LustforLife: Stopping HIV/AIDS in urban communities
In December 2014, ONE® Condoms, a leader in premium branded condoms in North America, partnered with Camino Public Relations to launch a national HIV prevention campaign. The campaign, #LustforLife, brought together a coalition of visual artists, musicians, celebrities and public health agencies to work towards a common goal – stopping HIV in urban communities. Camino’s challenge: help ONE Condoms reach several different communities within the healthcare community, as well as engage mainstream media.
Because of Camino’s deep understanding of the sexual health and HIV prevention, and the intersectional nature of the campaign, we jumped in to help. The #LustforLife campaign was both mission-aligned and, if with the right execution , had the potential for significant impact in the battle against HIV.
Corporate responsibility programs can be met with skepticism from journalists if the message strategy is not authentically shaped by the mission. To best position ONE® Condoms’s authentic interest in public health, we worked extensively with ONE® Condoms to center the campaign messaging within a social justice framework. This positioned access to condoms and safer sex as a social justice issue while still maintaining transparency about ONE® Condoms commercial interest.. The urban health framing d allowed ONE® Condoms to strongly connect with one of their most coveted audiences: health practitioners and advocates.
In partnership with ONE® Condoms, we established a shared vision for media outreach:
- Build a narrative about how the Lust for Life campaign is positively impacting community health in urban communities — specifically around sexual health promotion.
- Raise awareness and build ONE® Condoms’ brand as a for-profit company deeply invested in making it easier for people to learn about, talk about, and practice safe sex.
- Highlight ONE® Condoms’ commitment to reaching and impacting urban communities, which are often disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS.
The social justice-focused frame of the campaign and media materials helped reporters understand the campaign’s impact on helping end HIV/AIDS in urban communities. This proved critical to our success. We helped journalists and advocates view ONE® Condoms as authentically invested in safer sex and condom advocacy by focusing on the social impact of the #LustforLife campaign first, rather than the ONE® Condomss brand. Additionally, this helped position ONE® Condoms as an innovator in the HIV/AIDS prevention space.
We timed our the campaign to coincide with National Condom Month and National Condom Week, which allowed us to enter into the national conversation about access to condoms and condom usage. In addition, highlighting how the various advocates (i.e., the street artists, health partner organizations, spokespeople) were all invested in the same goal helped the campaign speak to multiple audiences while maintaining message consistency. We connected campaign spokespeople directly with reporters to provide direct l quotes to build authentic voice of the campaign. Supporters spoke about their personal experiences and the effects of HIV/AIDS in their communities — and the importance of resources and safer sex education.
With limited resources, it was key to create a highly efficient and effective pitching campaign. Through research, we were able to match the focus of a journalist’s known interests and previous writing and create tailored pitches in the following areas:
Kick off event
Hosted by Urban outfitters
- Health-focused (i.e., journalists that focus on health topics, particularly sexual health).
- New York City-focused (i.e., journalists in New York City and thus are more likely to cover the NYC Lust for Life launch).
- Art-focused (i.e., journalists who focus on art, with emphasis on street art).
- National-focused (i.e., journalists from national outlets who write about aspects related to the campaign).
The campaign kicked off on February 6, 2015, with an event at Urban Outfitters’ flagship Manhattan store. The event showcased 22 STOP sign replicas transformed by celebrated NYC artists into powerful art pieces reflecting messages about HIV prevention. The event also helped promote an online auction of the displayed artwork, with proceeds benefitting HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in urban communities. Finally, the artwork was featured on special edition ONE® Condoms wrappers and distributed to attendees of the event. These special edition condoms were also shipped to health partner organizations across the country.
The ensuing media campaign was a major success. Camino’s outreach generated several in-depth articles, reaching a potential audience of 64 million. About 62.3 percent of that audience was exposed to original stories or re-posts, and 37.7 percent viewed content aggregator sites reached by PRNewswire. The campaign even generated a cover story, including the campaign artwork, in one of New York City’s major daily outlets.
The reporters we worked with invested deeply in their reporting on the campaign. For example, rather than pulling quotes from the press releases, the reporters interviewed campaign spokespeople for original quotes. All of the media coverage mentioned that the Lust for Life campaign was created to address the devastating rates of HIV/AIDS in urban communities.
The campaign press releases had open rates that exceeded industry standards. Notably, the “art”-focused press release had a very high open rate, with the “health” category coming in second.
Personalized outreach to reporters and bloggers was key to this success. Camino provided background information to journalists and helped Lust for Life spokespersons with message readiness. This was especially important given the multiple dimensions of the campaign (launch event, auction, condoms, art, and urban focus).
The media strategy developed for the ONE® Condoms Lust for Life campaign demonstrates that correct message framing and campaign position can directly connect with audiences concerned about social good. ONE® Condoms’s authentic and deeply-rooted commitment to public health gave them the courage to put the social impact of the campaign first, rather than the ONE® Condomss brand. This has made ONE® Condoms an innovator in the HIV/AIDS prevention space.
- BuzzFeed: “These Artists Designed Beautiful Condom Wrappers To Promote Safe Sex.” BuzzFeed is a global Internet news media company with a high estimated audience reach of 27.9 million. The article was republished in blogs such as Blog Lovin and buzzcnet, and BuzzFeed tweeted the article to its 2 million followers.
- ThinkProgress: “Street Art Campaign Encourages Safe Sex In Urban Communities.” ThinkProgress is a progressive news site that focuses on social justice causes with an estimated audience reach estimated audience reach 2.7 million. The article was reposted in blogs, such as fnews and The News Commenter, and ThinkProgress tweeted the article to its 363 thousand followers.
- Metro: “Street artists want to STOP HIV/AIDS,” published a cover story in print and online. Metro is New York City’s #1 most circulated free daily newspaper (estimated audience reach: 218,761 and 328,296 copies per day according to 2011 data).
- Collectively: “Can A Condom’s Packaging Change How It Reaches An Audience?” Collectively is a website about sustainability and social change that is partnered with Vice Media (estimated audience reach 71,207).
- Medium: “#LustforLife: Using Street Art to Fight HIV/AIDS in Urban Communities.” Medium is a blog-publishing platform founded by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone (estimated audience reach 7.6 million).
- Poz.com: “Lust for Life: NYC Street Artists Raise HIV/AIDS Awareness,” publishes daily content on HIV/AIDS news, stories, blogs, and information (estimated audience reach 46,205).
- The press release sent out via PRNewswire generated reprints on content aggregator pages of sites like Yahoo! Finance (estimated audience reach 23.5 million), Drug Store News (estimated audience reach 50,426), RMN Digital,), WBOC-TV Channel 16 (Salisbury, MD), WAFF-TV Channel 48 (Huntsville, AL), and NBC Right Now (Yakima, WA). WBLS (estimated audience reach 62,639) used content from the PRNewswire and was arranged through Lifebeat.
- BET: “ONE Condoms Teams Up With Graffiti Artists for HIV/AIDS Awareness.” Black Entertainment Television (estimated audience reach 1.06 million) published an article in their Lifestyle section that highlighted Lifebeat, and included quotes from the press release for Billi Kid and Davin Wedel. This was arranged through Lifebeat.
- Billi Kid appeared in the studio at Hot 97 to do a live street art demo, arranged through Lifebeat.