Female Health, MAC AIDS Fund partner for awareness

CHICAGO: The Female Health Company partnered with the MAC AIDS Fund for a campaign using earned and social media to raise awareness in Washington about the female condom.

CHICAGO: The Female Health Company partnered with the MAC AIDS Fund for a campaign using earned and social media to raise awareness in Washington about the female condom.

The initiative is part of an overall strategy targeting cities in the US with the highest incidents and prevalence rates for HIV/AIDS, said Bryan Callahan, VP of social marketing for Ogilvy PR Worldwide. The firm began working with the Female Health Company in 2005.

FC2, the female condom, received Food and Drug Administration approval in early 2009.

“We've been planning and coordinating the media strategy and we ramped up the tour and an active media plan, starting in late January,” he noted.

In May 2009, Callahan told PRWeek that partnerships were "very, very important to making people aware of the female condom."

Ogilvy is handling social media and local media outreach for the public-private partnership. Weber Shandwick, AOR for the MAC AIDS Fund, is leading national media outreach, said Jennifer Risi, EVP of the global strategic media group at the firm. Targeted outlets included The Washington Post and Newsweek.

In February, the MAC AIDS Fund introduced Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga as spokespeople for the fund's longstanding MAC Viva Glam campaign, which is focusing on women impacted by HIV/AIDS in 2010.

“It's a very innovative, bold step that really takes a gusty brand," said Nancy Mahon, executive director of the MAC AIDS Fund, about the partnership. "HIV really is a women's issue. For whatever reason, straight women in this country, in particular, think they are not at risk.” 

The fund donated $500,000 to the DC Department of Health.* The grant is being used to provide 500,000 female condoms to five clinics in Washington.

The Female Health Company is also working with CVS as a retail partner and the Washington AIDS Partnership and the DC Department of Health as education partners, said Callahan.

On the social media side, Ogilvy brought in Jasmine Burnett, a health educator and AIDS advocate, to handle the Twitter feed and Facebook page.

“We worked with reproductive health advocates to identify a woman who could talk about the female condom in a peer-to-peer way,” said Callahan, “and basically frame key questions related to use, related to FAQs about the product, and also keep up a drumbeat of awareness of female condoms.”

The firm also developed videos with Lady Gaga to include in outreach to fashion bloggers. Other online outreach is targeting bloggers who cover reproductive health, Washington, and HIV/AIDS.

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the MAC AIDS Fund gave funding to the Female Health Company. The MAC AIDS Fund awarded the $500,000 grant to the DC Department of Health, which purchased the female condoms from the Female Health Company. We regret the error.

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