Client: The National Osteoporosis Society
PR team: Good Relations
Timescale: June-December 2008
Budget: c. £45,000
In the UK, one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will fracture a bone, mainly as a result of osteoporosis. Significantly, people are often unaware that they have fragile bones, until the time of the first fracture.
In line with its mission of eradicating the disease, the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) commissioned the Love your Bones campaign to increase public understanding and raise awareness of what can be done from an early age to reduce risk.
Under the Love your Bones campaign umbrella, the NOS was also looking for ways to generate mass media coverage, and provide a framework for wider activity carried out by its departments and volunteer groups.
- To increase public understanding of osteoporosis, and raise awareness of how to minimise risk
- To raise awareness of NOS events and initiatives and drive people to the 'Love your Bones' website
- To provide a framework for wider activity carried out by NOS departments and volunteer groups.
Strategy and plan
Good Relations was charged with engaging the media and wider public, while supporting the NOS' current activities. The agency came up with an idea that could be developed and trialled, with the eventual intention of encouraging wider adoption by the NOS' regional event and sponsorship teams in 2009.
The idea rolled out was called 'Boogie for your Bones' - a dance initiative to encourage people to do weight-bearing exercises that would help build stronger bones.
Dance and exercise plans were developed in conjunction with Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood and health expert and agony aunt Dr Miriam Stoppard to link the NOS with the initiative. The band Hula Groove, meanwhile, created the new Boogie for your Bones song for free based on the old classic Dry Bones. All of the material, including an instructional video of the dance workout, a PDF of the dance plan and the specially created song were was made available for download on the loveyourbones.org.uk website.
The plan was supported with a nationwide competition to encourage dance schools to compete for the opportunity to dance at the Royal Festival Hall launch event, which was also hosted by fitness guru Lizzie Webb.
The four winning schools were used as part of the ongoing campaign across the country, to demonstrate that the dance plan can be adapted for all. All dance school entries were uploaded to YouTube, with users encouraged to create their own versions.
Measurement and evaluation
Coverage began with more than 20 BBC and independent radio interviews with key spokespeople Revel Horwood and Stoppard.
Overall, coverage eventually included 60 pieces in print - including a double page spread in the Daily Express and several mentions in the Daily Mirror, a piece in Take 5 and a mention in You magazine. There were also 35 items of online coverage generated.
Coverage to date has been worth more than £800,000.
Almost 4,500 people viewed and downloaded the Boogie for your Bones dance plan video, with another 2,300 downloading further instructions. The dance school entries, meanwhile, were viewed 2,800 times.
Overall, the campaign has reached more than 33 million people.
The NOS is now planning to implement Boogie for your Bones more widely in 2009, and America's National Osteoporosis Foundation is also aiming to launch a similar initiative.
SECOND OPINION - Carys Thomas Ampofo, Director, Ash Healthcare
This is what we would call a good 'nuts and bolts' media relations campaign. It is a great creative idea playing on the zeitgeist for competitive dance and reality TV and harnessing contemporary channels such as YouTube effectively. It is not clear which generation this is targeting, but reading between the lines it appears it is the younger audience that needs to exercise from an early age to build bones and if this is the case they have hit the nail on the head.
The Good Relations team obviously worked very hard to secure this impressive amount of media coverage. However, it would be good to see more detailed evaluation criteria with specific measures against the objectives. For example, how many unique users did the campaign planners envisage would go to the website? Were there targets to ensure that the website was mentioned in a certain percentage of coverage? I would also hope that the coverage quality - for example message count - was assessed and not just the quantity. Valuing coverage via AVE is a very crude measure and while it can be useful for internal audiences it is not often a good reflection of the depth of quality of a campaign. Ideally, it would be good if outcomes rather than outputs were also evaluated - what changed or what actions resulted from the campaign?
The NOS is wise to trial a campaign before making a large investment and will be pleased with the results.