How do you make the most of star power when building Awareness? The Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) maximized a unique opportunity when they formed a timely alliance with the Starz Network’s critically-acclaimed original television series, “Boss,” after the lead character, portrayed by Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award-winning actor Kelsey Grammer, was diagnosed with the disease. Leveraging popular culture while strategically utilizing television, radio and social media to spread the word, this multi-channel campaign made a meaningful difference.
Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is not a rare disease. It is a progressive brain disease that affects thinking, movement and behavior. Because LBD symptoms can closely resemble other more commonly known diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, it is currently widely underdiagnosed. In fact, it affects an estimated 1.3 million individuals and their families in the United States, but many doctors or other medical professionals, and, in turn, patients still are not familiar with this degenerative brain disorder.
October is Lewy Body Dementia Awareness Month, representing a focused opportunity to build awareness among, and educate, medical professionals and the public about this debilitating disease. October is an extremely competitive month for media coverage, particularly in an election year, so how did the Lewy Body Dementia Association seek to break through and meet or exceed prior October awareness results in 2012?
In August 2012, Grammer recorded several public service announcements to anchor the organization’s effort to raise awareness about LBD. The Lewy Body Dementia Association then turned to News Generation to help leverage these valuable tools during October’s Lewy Body Dementia Awareness Month by crafting a customized radio and television media outreach effort. At the beginning of October, News Generation personally pitched the effort far and wide, targeting 200 radio stations and networks, and 150 television stations and networks, in the top-50 media markets. These messages were directed towards everyone from PSA directors, to health and entertainment reporters, to network affiliate morning show producers.
Nearly seven million (6,855,300) listeners and viewers were reached by this media relations effort. Top hits include the Family Radio Network, and the #1 adult contemporary radio stations in Chicago and Dallas-Ft. Worth and television network affiliates in Chicago, Detroit, and Seattle. In addition, daily visits to lbda.org during October were reported to be both greater in number and more consistent than in 2011. There were also approximately 5,000 total views of the PSA on the LBDA YouTube Channel. The Grammer PSA was also shared on Twitter with more than 800,000 and on Facebook with more than 90,000, due to the celebrity reach of cast members of The View and Starz Network’s social media channels. Overall, the LBDA reports that the LBD Awareness Movement, as measured by increases across multiple consumer touch points grew significantly over the course of 2012, January through the end of LBD Awareness Month, October 31, 2012. Social media fans, for example, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, increased remarkably, ranging from nearly 25 percent (Facebook) to 500 percent (Twitter) growth.