HPV social media marketing – spreading the word, not the disease

What if you had to communicate to women 25-45 that they were at high risk of contracting HPV, a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to multiple forms of cancer? It’s a mandate that SOGC – the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada take very seriously. So, using social media techniques to create positive conversations around the issue was the clear choice for generating the awareness and engagement required to affect behavioural change.

The perceived risks associated with social media marketing can paralyze not-for-profit organizations, with consumers and association members readily expressing their opinions on branded content, both positive and negative. SOGC embraced the challenge and created a multi-platform, fully integrated campaign that got right to the heart of the issue of women re-entering the dating pool after longer term relationships. A cinema advertising spot had a woman at home browsing dating websites, only to get an alert to tell her she’s at risk of contracting the virus. Through Facebook advertising, SOGC directed women to what appeared to be the same dating website, only to find an alert message flash in front off their screens. Needless to say public reaction was varied, but overall the level of engagement and conversation around the issue was extremely high.

Some SOGC members were initially confused by what appeared to be a promotion of a dating website, but when users went through the full flow of the web experience, the shares, comments and likes amplified the otherwise tiny media budget to earn multiple times more in free exposure.

The key takeaway is that in order to break through the clutter and engage members or users or influencers, your material needs to trigger an emotional response. Sometimes that emotion is outrage, sometimes it’s joy and sometimes it can be sadness. But whatever it is, it should be intentional, fully thought through and executed flawlessly. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

And remember – the risk of insult is the price of clarity.

Learn more about their marketing strategy at the Engaging Associations Forum, July 19-21, 2017 in Ottawa, ON!

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