Co-Winner: Time Inc./PEOPLE—PEOPLE's Cover of Brittany Maynard Facebook Social Good Campaign
In October 2014, Brittany Maynard came to People.com with a mission. Terminally ill with a rare bran cancer and approaching the day she planned to die with dignity, Brittany wanted to help change the way people think about the right to die. Over the course of a month, People used Facebook to spread awareness of Brittany’s campaign, sparking conversations among their over 5 million followers and beyond. People stayed with Brittany every step of the way in an effort to raise awareness of the issue—choosing to die on one’s own terms instead of at the hands of a terminal illness—and to educate readers on the harsh realities of Brittany’s situation.
The initial Facebook post for Brittany’s story broke People’s previous Facebook referral records by reaching three times more users than their previous record. The post reached over 50 million users and allowed People to use their Facebook presence to educate others about the death with dignity cause. Whether they were in support of it or now, People raised awareness, gained new followers and ultimately sparked an important conversations around a national issue, exactly as Brittany Maynard intended.
Co-Winner: USA TODAY—Make A Difference Day
In February 1992, Leap Day fell on a Saturday so USA Weekend asked its readers to spend the extra day doing something good for someone else. Twenty-three years later USA Weekend’s Make A Difference Day is now the largest national day of community service. They utilized Facebook to further build recognition around Make A Difference Day as a national day of volunteerism and awareness around the $140,000 in charitable grants awarded to standout projects.
Recognizing that their existing Facebook audience had shown an interest and commitment to Make A Difference Day, the team leveraged them to drive deeper engagement with new audiences as ambassadors of the day. They posted content that was not only engaging, but also easy for audiences to share on their walls and with their friends. Through engaging this audience they also aimed to grow a new audience of ambassadors that they could use to spread awareness year after year. The volunteer efforts garnered tremendous coverage from both local and national outlets with several mentions from NBC’s TODAY show, NBC Nightly News and others. Make A difference Day was mentioned thousands of times on social media and reached 31 million people on Twitter alone.
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