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Asthma Foundation Takes On Viral Marketing Campaign

24 September 2007 at 4:35 pm
Staff Reporter
The Asthma Foundation of NSW has made a radical departure from its usual annual Asthma Week campaign - employing an innovative viral campaign to grab its target audience.

Staff Reporter | 24 September 2007 at 4:35 pm


Asthma Foundation Takes On Viral Marketing Campaign
24 September 2007 at 4:35 pm

The Asthma Foundation of NSW has made a radical departure from its usual annual Asthma Week campaign – employing an innovative viral campaign to grab its target audience.

Described as the first of its kind in Australia, the campaign aims to deliver a serious health message – that asthma is serious – in an engaging and unexpected way.

It’s launched a glossy, cinema style TV commercial or ‘mini movie’ with the help of corporate partner Volvo Cars to get people to take asthma seriously – and in particular young adult males.

Asthma Foundation CEO, Greg Smith says the Foundation is employing new media and televisual language in order to communicate with what is traditionally the hardest demographic to reach.

Asthma statistics show that prevalence in young adult males peaks between their teens and 24 years of age, a time when many important life events such as, getting a good education, playing sports, choosing a career and developing an active social life are all happening.

Smith says they are also the demographic group with the least number of Asthma Action Plans, the highest proportion of smokers and the worst dietary habits – factors that can all affect their asthma management.

The cinema quality advert was shot in the style of a big budget action thriller. Featuring an extended car chase sequence, the plot line follows two secret agents who have stolen a secret and are being pursued by villains. They almost escape, but are caught out when one experiences asthma symptoms, which gives their location away.

Smith says the viral marketing campaign is designed to appeal to young adult males, hoping that they will understand the punch line of the commercial that the consequences of asthma can be serious.

The call to action is to drive people to the micro site (where you can see the full 2 minute version) register for an Asthma Action Pack which includes important asthma information, a tool for developing a management plan and the new Asthma Emergency Card which outlines the simple, ‘4 step’ emergency procedure that will help bring an attack under control.

Viral marketing and viral advertising are marketing techniques exploit pre-existing social networks to produce greater brand awareness through viral processes – similar to the spread of an epidemic. It is word-of-mouth delivered and enhanced online; it harnesses the network effect of the Internet.

Senior marketing and development manager, Michele Goldman says the video production was made possible with the support of Volvo Cars who recently launched the Volvo S80 into the Australian market – with CZIP and IAQS technology which result in a clean air interior.

Goldman says Volvo was keen to promote these features as well as to position themselves as a company which is prepared to take risks associated with new and different marketing approaches.

She says due to the engaging nature of the ad, a viral email campaign has also been employed. Asthma Foundation staff played a key role in distributing the email campaign to over 10,000 personal and organisational contacts generating close to 1000 registrations for the Asthma Action Pack within the first 24 hours!

The support of a number of large organisations such as ANZ, Optus, Telstra and Diageo has also been enlisted to further build on email distribution. Based on the high prevalence of the condition – 1:6 kids and 1:9 adults in Australia have asthma, the campaign is relevant to a large number of these organisations employees who have asthma themselves or within their family.

The Asthma Foundations are aiming to distribute more than 8,000 asthma information packs by the end of the campaign.

Goldman says this is a simple and cost effective way to reach a large number of constituents through a medium which makes it easy to respond to the call to action.

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