B&P was tasked with PR and advertising for the Southern Nevada Health District's (SNHD) third annual "Fight the Flu" awareness and education effort. SNHD asked its agency to extend the 2007 campaign by locale, to eventually cover the whole state. "It helps [smaller districts] if we can share resources," says Jennifer Sizemore, public information manager at SNHD. "We thought it would be more effective as a statewide campaign."
To "cut through the clutter" and maximize exposure, B&P came up with a sock-puppet theme that would inject humor into the effort and work well for the ad campaign and both traditional and non-traditional outreach, notes George McCabe, B&P's PR director. "We were immunizing ourselves from being too slick or home-spun in our approach," he says.
B&P stuffed sock puppets, made by kids, into media kits sent to every local print, TV, and radio outlet.
The PR team also tapped major utility companies to include "fight the flu" information for their newsletters and Web sites, and arranged for nurses to give radio hosts flu shots on the air. "The sock puppet was an attention-grabber... a media blitz," says McCabe.
The agency provided health departments in Reno and Carson City with both the materials and the PR strategy, in order to roll the program out locally.
From October 2 to December 28, about 21, 300 shots had been administered. Outreach produced coverage by 102 outlets, including all local TV news affiliates and the Vegas Review Journal. Coverage also prompted the mayor of North Las Vegas to declare September "flu pandemic preparedness month."
"[The campaign generated] a lot of interest in flu shots which... is important to us," says Sizemore.
SNHD will build on this effort for the coming flu sea- son and work with B&P if federal grant funds allow.
PR Team: Southern Nevada Health District and B&P (both in Las Vegas)
Campaign: "Fight the Flu"
Duration: August-October 2007
Budget: $24,000 federal grant (advertising and PR)