Case study: The most powerful arm ever invented

How Australia's Red Agency built a robot to drive government action of a degenerative disease.

This work won the Campaign of the Year award at the recent 2014 PRWeek Awards Asia.

Objective

Save Our Sons is an Australian charity dedicated to raising awareness and funds for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a rare and fatal muscle degenerative disease that affects one in 3,500 boys worldwide. The charity wanted to approach the Australian government, to match monies already raised (US$1.65 million) to fund essential clinical trials. For this they needed to gain the support of the Australian public, but the charity and disease itself lacked national awareness.

Strategy

‘The most powerful arm ever invented’ was created to capture public interest and support for the cause. With no budget behind the campaign, disseminating key messages about the disease relied solely on PR. The strategy was to use Australian earned-media channels to tell the story of DMD sufferers and drive people to the robot arm for immediate action.

Key media targets were identified across TV, radio, online and print, as well as parenting, lifestyle, technology and health verticals and social media. A face and spokesperson, DMD sufferer Jacob Lancaster, was appointed to bring the campaign to life through his own story in a video on the website. The font created for the robot arm to write in was taken from the last piece of handwriting Jacob created before he lost the ability to write, a Mother’s Day card.

Results

Over the campaign’s nine-week period it achieved 193 media articles with a combined coverage reach of over 20 million. The campaign website achieved more than 60,000 page views, which resulted in over 32,000 signatures.

Moreover, following the campaign, a pharmaceutical company agreed to commence clinical trials with the funds raised to date, rather than waiting for the total sum required from government.

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