Edelman joins forces with Viacom on HIV AIDS education initiative

LOS ANGELES: Edelman has been hired by Viacom to provide PR support for a multimillion-dollar media campaign to combat HIV/AIDS.

LOS ANGELES: Edelman has been hired by Viacom to provide PR support for a multimillion-dollar media campaign to combat HIV/AIDS.

The initiative, called "Know HIV/AIDS," is a collaboration between Viacom and the Kaiser Family Foundation, and is aimed at educating youth and minority demographics about the disease, with a focus on prevention and testing. It encompasses messaging across all Viacom properties, including TV and radio PSAs, print and online content, storylines on network and cable programs, and outdoor advertising.

Edelman was brought on board in December to help with the January launch, and currently has four people working on the monthly retainer task. Over the course of the year, Edelman will pitch the story to minority and other targeted media. It will also serve as a liaison between the different Viacom properties involved in the project, including Showtime, CBS, and Infinity radio stations.

"They hired us to help them really spread the word," said Edelman's Deirdre Latour. "The objective is not to publicize Viacom. They literally just want to get the prevention and testing messages out to the public."

The initiative kicked off last week with the introduction of the PSAs.

Viacom has produced 22 spots for TV, 14 for radio, and 13 for outdoor advertising, with a media value of $120 million. In addition, AIDS-related storylines will be featured on shows such as Becker and Girlfriends.

Viacom decided to make AIDS a company-wide issue after its MTV and BET properties successfully sponsored campaigns on the virus.

"AIDS is the most devastating healthcare crisis of our time," explained Susan Duffy, Viacom VP of corporate relations. "It's a communication problem about prevention and testing, and that kind of problem really lends itself to the kind of media assets we have."

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