Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Power of a Positive Message

This week’s issue of PR News (February 11, 2008) carries a two-page case study about Cable Positive’s PSA campaigns of HIV/AIDS awareness, education and prevention. The case study examines the organization’s carefully planned, 3-year “Join the Fight” multi-media campaign of 30-second spots, short documentaries, and coordinated website messages.

The study notes that as the trend in advertising went toward using more celebrity endorsees to get people to pay more attention to issues, Cable Positive decided to wage a campaign from 2004-2007 using celebrities to urge others to “Join the Fight” against HIV/AIDS. Our public awareness spots got picked up on cable systems and cable networks across the country, in AIDS service organizations and waiting rooms in health clinics. Our documentaries of 5 minutes, 15 minutes and 45 minutes in length were aired on Sundance (Positive Voices: Matthew Cusick), on Showtime Networks (Positive Voices: Women & HIV), and on Cable Positive’s own Video-on-Demand platforms available in 10 million households.

A key element to our successful “Join the Fight” campaign—which registered more than 3 million Cable Positive website ( hits in its first year, was forging practical partnerships with groups like the National Latino AIDS Commission, the Black AIDS Institute, and the Asian/Pacific Islander Wellness Center—targeting those communities with the highest rate of new HIV infections. As our part of the partnership, Cable Positive featured celebrities from each of those communities—Rosie Perez, Wilmer Valderrama, BD Wong, Jose Llana, S. Epatha Merkerson, Jeffrey Wright and Rosario Dawson—to deliver those positive messages of HIV/AIDS education and awareness, of self-respect and personal empowerment.

And, just as reality television programming has proved remarkably successful and attention-grabbing, Cable Positive has commenced a new multi-year, multi-platform public education campaign featuring a new kind of celebrity—HIV positive people struggling with the virus every day of their lives. This new campaign, with the message of “We Have Work To Do,” communicates clearly that the cable television industry—unlike any other industry in the world—has continued to roll up its sleeves and dedicate its talents, resources, and passionate commitment to the long, tough fight against the greatest public health threat of our time.

Cable Positive, now in our 16th year and supported by over $1 billion of pro-bono cable airtime and more than $20 million in financial support, is a model of industry-wide corporate social responsibility, and a powerful case study for yet another day.

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