At our 62nd Annual Public Service Award Dinner on November 11th, we presented the bronze CAdalyst Award to Alma, DDB NY and Facebook for their work on the Caregiver Assistance campaign, which helps connect caregivers to experts and other caregivers for resources and support. This was the first year of the CAdalyst Awards, our highest honor to recognize creative excellence and social impact. We talked to Rowena Patrick and Allyse Engelder of Ad Council’s Campaign Management team about what they learned while working on Caregiver Assistance, how social marketers can learn from their experience, and more.
Ad Council: What are you most proud of? Were there specific challenges you had to solve for?
Rowena Patrick and Allyse Engelder: I think that what we are most proud of recently is the latest round of creative, which was done by Alma DDB in Miami. It is excellent and has won a ton of awards. I think that the specific challenge with this issue is the lack of self-identification, and how hard it is for caregivers to admit that they need help. This makes cracking the issue pretty tough, as it is pretty multi-faceted and cannot be solved just by visiting a website. Another challenge is balancing the emotion of the issue with the more tangible resources-figuring out how to talk to them respectfully about getting help. You have to balance how real you can be while also not sugarcoating the issue, because caregiving situations can get pretty dark/negative sometimes.
AC: What have you learned working on this campaign?
RP & AE: I have learned that caregiving truly is a universal issue and everyone has a story. We like to say that if you are not a caregiver yet, you will be at some point in your life, or you will be the one being cared for-literally because it is true! I have also learned that while the target of the campaign (boomer women 40-60) is pretty traditional in its media consumption, there are a lot of innovative ways to reach them, such as the Spanish “fotonovela” (essentially a print version of the dramatic TV shows) creative that we launched as Facebook ads over the past few weeks. Also we have a lot of work targeting the caregiver, but more recently, we did a program called Random Acts of Kindness for caregivers, which focused more on the network around the caregiver and how to do little things that help them out and lift their spirits.
AC: What advice do you have for social marketers?
RP & AE: I think that this campaign is an example of how there are so many “ways in” on the same issue. All four rounds of work that we have done for this campaign have had relatively the same strategy when they started, but the approach was so different in each round. The same strategy can have a very different creative product. Also, this is such a tough issue that there needs to be some sort of emotional component. Even though ultimately you want caregivers to access resources and tools to help, you have to reflect the emotion of the situation in the advertising in order to hook them.
AC: What’s next for the Caregiver Assistance campaign?
RP & AE: We are wrapping up the caregiving fotonovela with Facebook before the end of the year. Then we are launching into some exploratory research specifically delving into African American and male caregivers. We have never executed off of a strategy born out of research with AA caregivers, so that will be interesting! Also, some recent research from AARP shows an increase in male caregivers-but the care they provide tends to be more financial and long-distance, which is very different from our previous target of the campaign. So new targets are always very fun!