Ogilvy PR Johannesburg is being awarded for #ProTESTHIV in both the Social Media Campaign and Corporate Social Responsibility categories. It will receive these awards on Thursday, 11 May in Morocco at the first-ever African SABRE Awards ceremony. The event is part of the African Public Relations Association’s annual conference.

Ogilvy PR developed the social media strategy for Anglo American, which supported the campaign during the 21st International AIDS Conference. Anglo American collaborated with UNAIDS, which launched ProTEST HIV as a global initiative in November 2015.

The campaign’s aim was to promote the importance of voluntary HIV testing. It invited social media users to ‘protest HIV’ by uploading a selfie to their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account, along with the hashtags #ProTESTHIV or #GenEndIt.

Anglo American reported that the campaign had received over six million views on social media, engaging 400 000 people globally and attracting 73 000 new pro-testers.

Nick Bedford, the business director of public relations for Ogilvy PR Johannesburg, chatted to media update’s Nikita Geldenhuys about the agency’s involvement and how it achieved the goals it set for itself.

What was Ogilvy’s involvement in the campaign and who else worked on it?

For Anglo American, the campaign officially began on 11 July 2016 and ran through to 22 July 2016, when the conference ended. We were involved months before, where we needed to create a social media strategy that would stand out and lay testament to the amazing work Anglo American has done for HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

Other parties involved were UNAIDS, whom our client partnered with, and Joe Public from an activations point of view.

Internally, our performance media arm, [email protected], did a great job at developing the paid strategy and our Content Factory developed a variety of content for the campaign.

What were the different elements of the #ProTESTHIV campaign?

The elements that made up the social media side of the campaign included:
  • Facebook Live;
  • 360° video and photo content;
  • carousel adverts;
  • additional live streaming on Facebook and Periscope;
  • a live Twitter Q&A;
  • a Flipagram video;
  • a Twitter promoted trend; and
  • on-the-ground video interviews that were edited on site and distributed.
A big part of what our on-the-ground team achieved was directly targeting media that were at the conference, and then engaging with them on Twitter in order to secure our PR team interviews with key Anglo American personnel.

What goals did Ogilvy set for this campaign and to what degree do you think it achieved these goals?

Our broader goal for the campaign was to create awareness that an HIV-free generation is possible by 2030. We, however, set campaign KPIs based on the paid media budget.

Ultimately, we needed to drive awareness of the initiative, drive traffic to the website and create engagement. Our target was to achieve 366 000 engagements. In the 12 days, we secured 397 590 engagements.

There were also other metrics we used to measure the impact of the campaign. See the results in the gallery at the bottom of this page.

HIV and the importance of testing can be a sensitive topic for some audiences. How did Ogilvy take this into account when it developed the campaign idea and created the digital assets and content for #ProTESTHIV?

Having worked with Anglo American so extensively, as well as understanding the broader issues associated with HIV/AIDS, we understand the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS.

The idea was not to single people out who have not been tested, but rather to ask an audience to pledge their support, whether they knew their status or not. We did not want to guilt people into getting tested either, nor did we want them to tell us if they had.

What we really wanted, and hoped, was that people would take a selfie using #ProTESTHIV, showing their support for the young people of the world to get tested. In order for mankind to create an HIV-free generation, this needs to happen.

Who was the target audience for this campaign and how was the campaign tailored to reach this audience?

The goal was to target a younger audience, one that is active on social media as well as being the core audience for the UN’s goal of achieving an HIV-free generation.

On top of this, we researched the key audiences we believed would be attending the conference and created content that was relevant to them too. Our targeted stakeholder audience included corporates, NGOs, and health organisations – through to specific consumer segments and their followers, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Charlize Theron, and UNAIDS.

How integral was social media to the success of this campaign and why?

The UN states that in order for us to achieve an HIV-free generation by 2030, we need the youth to be tested. This insight made us rethink the boring, outdated, online pledge form and tailor it to an audience that has grown up with screens and cameras in the palms of their hands.

This ‘pledge’ in the form of a selfie and hashtag became the voice for ‘proTESTing’ HIV.

You used Facebook Live and Periscope to update the audience. Why did you opt to livestream updates and what were some of the basic challenges?

Apart from wanting to be innovative, we decided livestreaming would enable us to reach people who may have been following events online but who may not necessarily be able to attend.

One of the biggest challenges, and because we live in South Africa, was keeping a steady connection and not having the stream drop. We managed to get around this with hired iPhones using hotspots and different networks as we had to move from one side of the venue to the other for our opening/welcome address with UNAIDS.

The response for our welcome address was excellent as we promoted the event and time beforehand with paid media, receiving 69 000 views and engagements.

What were some of the most important lessons you’ve learned from working on the campaign?

We learned that the small details made all the difference. We tried to plan for every possible outcome, and if we hadn’t, the innovation we proposed would have failed. From writing scripts for the live streams to planning/deciding what media we wanted to reach through Twitter, the smaller details let the overall campaign work seamlessly.

A powerful social media strategy was integral to making the #ProTESTHIV campaign work. Read Bedford’s advice on making social media part of your marketing strategy in our article, Why brands desperately need social media in marketing strategies.

Visit www.ogilvy.co.za for more information about the agency.