2009 PR News CSR Award: Cause Branding

Following is this year's winner in the CSR Award category of Cause Branding.

A&E and Civic Entertainment Group for The Recovery Project

Based on the startling statistic that 22 million Americans are struggling with addiction, A&E executives launched the Recovery Project, a social outreach initiative to bring awareness to the issue, promote existing resources for treatment and prevention and leverage its brand assets to advance the cause of recovery.

With the help of agency partner Civic Entertainment Group, the team executed the campaign’s multiple elements:

  • The Recovery Rally: More than 5,000 people from across the country gathered at the base of the Brooklyn Bride to celebrate National Recovery Month. Attendees including A&E execs, addicts, celebrities, government officials and nonprofit leaders formed a human chain across the bridge, creating a living symbol of recovery that resonated with viewers and media nationwide.
  • Recovery Delegates: The A&E team partnered with the NCADD to select individuals from all 50 states who had been in recovery for at least 10 years to serve as Recovery Delegates. This group not only led the Recovery Rally, but they acted as living examples that addiction is a very real—and very beatable—disease.
  • TheRecoveryProject.com: This Web portal continues to act as an information hub where visitors can access resources, plan or attend local events, share personal stories, connect with legislators and community leaders and volunteer.
  • PSAs: A&E dedicated valuable on-air time to run a series of PSAs highlighting the importance of treatment and the hope for recovery. Among the celebrities featured were Whoopi Goldberg, Russell Simmons and Benjamin Bratt.

A&E’s multi-pronged cause branding campaign embodied real life and change. Media coverage drew 7.5 million impressions in major outlets and A&E established itself as a leader in social outreach. Most significant, though, Recovery Delegates from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., appeared at the Brooklyn Bridge rally to represent more than 1,000 years of addiction recovery.