Avon urges us to 'Shake It' for cancer campaign

The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade is the cosmetics firm's cause-related marketing programme that includes an annual fundraising campaign.

Campaign Shake It For Breast Cancer
Client Avon Cosmetics
PR team Capella Communications
Timescale July-October 2005
Budget £57,000

Since its launch 14 years ago, many other brands have associated themselves with the breast cancer cause, which means competition for media coverage is increasing.

Avon commissioned a new fundraising vehicle last year - the 'Shake It CD' - featuring dance-floor hits nominated by celebrities such as Denise van Outen and Tamzin Outhwaite. It tasked Capella, the crusade's first dedicated PR agency, to publicise it.

To launch the Shake It campaign. To drive sales of the Shake It CD and to highlight availability details - both online and through Avon representatives. 

Strategy and Plan
Capella approached choreographer Arlene Phillips (from BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing) to create her own version of 1960s dance craze 'The Shake', which was performed at the consumer media launch event.

The moves were then taught to instructors at LA Fitness clubs, who held special aerobics classes in cities and towns such as Leeds and Colchester, where money raised also went to the breast cancer cause. Information about the dance and the CD was posted on a Shake It website, where consumers could buy the disc.

Readers of newspapers local to the exercise classes were asked to send in photographs of their mothers 'shaking it' or to answer questions about the music on the CD, to raise awareness of the campaign.

Journalists from the beauty, celebrity and 'what's on?' pages of consumer magazines were sent CD-shaped press packs including press releases about the nation's dance habits. These were also sent to national and regional press. A psychologist was offered to radio stations for interviews on 'the psychology of dancing'.

All publicity material included how and where the CD could be bought and where the money was going.

Measurement and Evaluation
The campaign achieved coverage in women's magazines Company, Essentials, Chat, OK!, Woman, That's Life and Zest. Press interest included The Sun, News of the World, Daily Mirror, Yorkshire Evening Post, Manchester Evening News, Newcastle Journal and the Birmingham Mercury.

Radio interviews were aired by 29 stations, including Choice FM, Essex FM, Metro and Kiss 106.

The CD achieved the highest sales of any produced by Avon to date and has raised more than £500,000 so far. With the exception of two items, all coverage generated by the campaign included availability details of the CD.

'The Shake It campaign was a practical way of getting the message across about the link between exercise and cancer prevention,' says  Sunday Mirror health and beauty editor Lynne Hyland. 'The celebrity tie-in was a perfect fit for us. We did an interview with Tamzin Outhwaite who talked about keeping in shape with dancing.

'It's good to run a campaign where readers, who are increasingly savvy to celebrity promotions, don't necessarily see the joins,' she added.

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