Merck promotes AIDS and HIV awareness with 'Living Positive'

The unbranded effort from the pharmaceutical company will help "reinforce Merck's leadership in HIV and AIDS," said Peter Matheson Gay, SVP at Cohn & Wolfe, which is AOR for the company's infectious diseases portfolio.

Objective: The unbranded effort from the pharmaceutical company will help “reinforce Merck's leadership in HIV and AIDS,” said Peter Matheson Gay, SVP at Cohn & Wolfe, which is AOR for the company's infectious diseases portfolio. While many HIV and AIDS campaigns focus on prevention, “Living Positive by Design” aims to reduce the stigma for people living with the disease by encouraging discussion, he added.

Idea: The team brought in Jack Mackenroth of Project Runway fame to be the face of the campaign, one of the few celebrities with HIV or AIDS willing to speak about it, said Lynn Kenney, director of global product communications at Merck. Mackenroth, who was diagnosed with HIV nearly two decades ago, will speak in five US cities during the course of the campaign. He will also design a scarf for the New York event.

Tools: Merck is partnering with different HIV or AIDS nonprofits in each city, like SisterLove and Central City AIDS Network in Atlanta on October 17 and the Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York on November 10. In addition, a local physician will discuss disease management at the events, which will also be held in San Francisco and Houston, TX. The New York event will kick off national media outreach, and the initial campaign was announced at the 2008 United States Conference on AIDS in September.

Measurement: The campaign will look at the number of people who attend the events, media impressions, and hits from the program's MySpace page, Gay said. The team will also evaluate the possibility of adding events, based on community interest. 

Company: Merck

Campaign: Living Positive by Design

PR team: Cohn & Wolfe

Launch: October 17

Budget: Undisclosed

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