‘Did You See Me Faint at the White House?’ Click!

Karmel Allison in the red dress, behind President Obama in the Rose Garden. (Image: KoreAm)

In what may be a first, a fainting spell in the White House's Rose Garden has become the basis of an email campaign, drawing attention to a nonprofit cause and a national campaign on behalf of a new federal law.

On Oct. 21, Karmel Allison, pregnant and diabetic, nearly fainted as she stood behind President Obama during a speech about the Affordable Care Act in the Rose Garden. Obama turned around and helped steady her, and the clip became instant news.

A day later, the American Diabetes Association sent out an email blast with the brilliant subject line, "Did you see me faint at the White House?"

In the email, Allison, a self-described "Diabetes Advocate," writes,"yes, that was me—fainting on stage, on national television, waking up to the President of the United States of America telling me I would be OK. As embarrassed as I was, fainting led my story—but more importantly the story of all people fighting to Stop Diabetes—to catch everyone’s attention. I spent yesterday afternoon talking to media around the country, allowing me to spread the message of just how important the new healthcare act is to people with diabetes."

As Jennifer McGrath, corporate relations manager for the Allstate Foundation, said in a PR News webinar yesterday about social good communications, "It's the personal stories that resonate best—stories with an individual human face."

The American Diabetes Association would appear to agree with McGrath, as it took this high-profile—and quietly dramatic—story about Karmel Allison and instantly turned it into an effective, must-click email campaign that drew attention to both the Affordable Care Act's benefits, and the Stop Diabetes movement itself.