Making a Campaign Bigger With a Sustainable Hook

The story of Aflac’s Boston district manager Steve Karas donating bone marrow to save a young boy’s life is poignant in and of itself, but company’s PR team needed to elevate it to a larger media stage if they wanted its impact to reach a broad national audience.
“Just one story angle was insufficient,” says Paul Dusseault, senior vice president and partner at Fleishman-Hillard, and client relationship manager for the Aflac account. “The story [lacked] the punch to be of interest to the national media.”
In order to pack the necessary punch, then, the Aflac-Fleishman team decided on the following to strategies, all of which can be translated into best practices for any communications professional looking to raise awareness:
•    Spark a friendly rivalry: “To tie into the end of the baseball season, the PR team recommended the angle of sports team rivalries, what with the Red Sox fan’s bone marrow saving a Yankee fan [the bone marrow recipient, Matthew Welling, who lived near New York City],” Dusseault says. “That worked for the New York Times.”
•    Give the story longevity: “The PR team also recommended that Aflac cite the Karas-Welling episode as the inspiration for an internal program, themed ‘Sign, Swab and Save a Life,’ to encourage Aflac agents and others to enroll in the National Marrow Donor Program Registry,” Dusseault says. “That gave us a second and more sustainable angle for multiple media targets.”
•    Get validation from a credible third party. “The PR team enlisted the assistance of Dr. Ann Haight, director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, to serve as the medical media spokesperson,” Dusseault says. “She accompanied our Aflac executive spokesperson, company president Paul Amos, on a very successful satellite media tour. Alfac’s philanthropic connection to the hospital made access and availability relatively simple.”

Comments Off

Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' Social Media Summit with Taste of Tech


Unlike other conferences, you’ll be immersed in the strategies and tactics that you can apply right away to your work as a communicator. You’ll learn what it takes to compete for attention, engagement and positive brand awareness across an array of social media networks.

Use code “150off” at checkout.

Get $50 off PR News' Digital PR & Social Media Guidebook


This guidebook has one essential purpose: helping you maximize your communications effectiveness in the digital world. The articles in this guidebook produced both by the PR News staff and more than fifty communications industry thought leaders, focus on most every facet of digital PR and social media.

Use code “DIGITAL6” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription

Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.