How Johnson & Johnson Is Using Social Media To Save Lives

steve olenski
Steve Olenski Sr Creative Content Strategist , Oracle Responsys

Posted on July 11th 2013

How Johnson & Johnson Is Using Social Media To Save Lives

Those who know me know that I am passionate about a lot of things when it comes to the world of marketing, advertising, branding and social media. From the latest campaign for Brand X to the latest techno-advance, I want to know about it, learn about it and in some cases, write about it.

But perhaps what truly gets my passion meter on the rise is when I hear of a brand doing something for the betterment of all of us; to truly  have a profound and positive impact on we humans.

That is why I am here today. To tell you of a phenomenal campaign that seeks to do good for the world - in a big way.

The brand is Johnson & Johnson and together with (RED) - an incredible organization whose goal is to deliver an AIDS Free Generation by 2015 and save lives in the process - created a campaign whereby every time someone shares, tweets or pins the infographic below, they (J&J) will donate $1 to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, up to $100,000. Click here to see the full version.

Now I am sure the cynics will come out in full force asking things "Why doesn't J&J just donate the money? Why go through all this?"

The reason is Mr. & Mrs. Cynic quite simply to help spread the word; to use the power of social media to its fullest by not-so-gently reminding them that we do not live in an AIDS-free world but there are folks out there doing their part to see that come to fruition.

Folks like those at (RED), who as it turns out, are no stranger to using social media to help spread their message. This past June, the 5th to be exact, not coincidentally the 32nd anniversary of AIDS’ discovery, (RED) and Mashable set the world record on Vine.  Vine users were asked to post a 6 second video with the #REDworldrecord hashtag, and the record saw people across the globe – from Kenya to Thailand, and from the UK and USA to Mexico – rally around the AIDS fight and post videos of support.

Vine users including David Guetta, Paris Hilton, Dita Von Teese, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone (image of Biz as it appeared in Times Square), top chef Mario Batali and Olympic bobsledders Erin Hamlin and Steven Langton posted videos in support (even getting a retweet by Bill Gates).  A selection of the Vine posts were shown on the NASDAQ Tower and Marquee Screen in New York’s Times Square, and can be viewed here.

I wanted to learn more about (RED), and their latest campaign with Johnson & Johnson and I had a chance to meet and speak with Chrysi Philalithes (CP), Chief Digital Officer at (RED) and Anu Gupta (AG), Director Corporate Contributions for Johnson & Johnson.

SO: Tell us a little about (RED).
CP: (RED) was founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver to bring businesses and people together to help fight AIDS. We partner with the world’s most iconic brands, such as Apple, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Beats by Dr. Dre, Belvedere and Shazam, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of (RED) branded goods and services goes to an organization called the Global Fund.

Our mission is to help deliver an AIDS Free Generation, and our focus is on ending the transmission of HIV from moms to their babies. The drugs which make this possible in more than 95% of cases can cost as little as 40 cents a day in sub-Saharan Africa (here’s a link to our 40 cents PSA where Penelope Cruz, Hugh Jackman, Bono & others show the power of 40 cents.

(RED) has raised close to $210 million with 100% of that money going to support HIV/AIDS grants in Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania. Global Fund grants that (RED) supports have impacted more than 14 million people with prevention, treatment, counseling, HIV testing and care services.

SO: How did you come to work with Johnson & Johnson and tell us about this new campaign to raise $100,000 and where are you in terms of reaching the goal?
A: (RED) and Johnson & Johnson share a focus on helping to end mom-to-baby transmission of HIV, so it was very natural for us to partner on an initiative to rally people around the cause, and ask people to take ‘actions’ which could make a real difference by raising both money and awareness. Together, we launched a (RED) infographic, which, every time it was ‘Shared’, ‘Tweeted’ or ‘Pinned’ would empower social media users to play a real role in helping to save lives by triggering a $1 donation from J&J to the Global Fund, up to $100,000.

Right now, we’ve seen phenomenal support – with 90,000 shares, tweets or pins. We’ll be at 100,000 before long, which means $100,000 for the Global Fund to continue their incredible work on the ground in Africa. That money can provide 250,000 days of life-saving medicine.

SO: What are some of the brands you've worked with to date and how can a brand go about working with (RED)?
CP: (RED) has a great range of products – there’s something for everyone. From the (PRODUCT)RED iPod nano to the (SHAZAM)RED iPhone App to the (BEATS BY DRE)RED headphones to the DANCE (RED), SAVE LIVES album presented by Tiësto, to our special edition (BELVEDERE)RED bottle, the whole (RED) range is united by a couple of things. These are products and services that are design centric and innovative. They cost exactly the same as the other versions of the same product – for example the (PRODUCT)RED iPod nano costs exactly the same as the other nanos. And they all give you a way of helping to fight AIDS.

Our partners have a shared goal of helping (RED) eliminate a disease which has killed over 30 million people over the past 32 years. They do this not only by selling (RED) products to raise money for the Global Fund, but by engaging their audiences with the fight against AIDS through their retail presence, their employees and their social media followings.

(RED) was born the same year as Twitter – social media is in our DNA. We were the first non-profit to have reached over 1 million followers on both Twitter and Facebook, last year we set the record for the most amount of money raised for a cause from foursquare check-ins – with Starbucks and foursquare we raised $250,000 in 8 days, and we have turned Twitter (RED) – literally – where Twitter turned the color of their tweets red every time someone used #red. We’re always looking to use social media to get people rallied around the fight. And we did this once again on June 5th 2013 – the 32nd anniversary of the discovery of AIDS. (RED) partnered with Mashable and RecordSetters to set the first ever world record on Vine and we asked people to post a Vine based around something ‘red’.

The response was incredible! #REDWorldRecord trended on Vine all day, and we saw brilliant, creative posts go live from around the world – Mexico and Kenya, to Thailand and Turkey – and our favorite Vines were featured on Mashable’s homepage as well as on the NASDAQ marquee screen and tower in Times Square. Digital pioneers like Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey participated as well as celebrities and USA Olympians.

SO: As Director of Corporate Contributions for such a large brand, you must be presented with many opportunities. How and why did you decide to work with (RED)?
AG: For the last decade, Johnson & Johnson has worked with partners to make a world where no baby is born with HIV and no mother dies of AIDS a reality. (RED) is united with us in this vision. We wanted to mark the 2 year anniversary of the Global Plan and were looking for new and innovative ways to educate, engage and interact with the public on the issue. Partnering with (RED) on an infographic sharing initiative gave us a perfect opportunity. Infographics are informative, visual and extremely easy to share across someone’s social networks. If our shared goal is to shine a global spotlight on the problem, then what better way than to collaborate on a graphic that people across the globe can instantly share, like, and pin?

SO: Why was it important to use social media in this campaign?
AG: Just like the AIDS epidemic, social media knows no geographic boundaries. Every day, social media is connecting us in ways we could have never imagined bridging the miles that separate us, and bringing those who live far away closer. It also has the power to make issues that are far away relevant. By supporting (RED) and other social media efforts, we’re helping people understand health challenges that affect communities thousands of miles away – and giving them an opportunity to take action to advance the health of women and children.

steve olenski

Steve Olenski

Sr Creative Content Strategist , Oracle Responsys

A regular contributor to Forbes, among other publications, Steve was named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred. He is currently a senior creative content strategist at Oracle Responsys. He is a also a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing and co-author of the book StumbleUpon For Dummies. Follow him on Twitter@steveolenski or at the nearest coffee shop.The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle Responsys.

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