American Lung Association/Aventis Pharmaceutical Faces of Influenza
Cooney Waters Group, the public relations agency for the American Lung Association’s national educational outreach Faces of Influenza, sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis, enlisted Ward to design and execute a Houston community relations program in 2007. Ward worked with a core group of coalition members in the Houston area – including Harris County Public Health, Texas Children’s Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Hermann, and the City of Houston – to support the Faces of Influenza campaign. Through coalition partnerships, Ward identified expert spokespersons to support campaign messages at
events and through media opportunities. Given the number of mega-churches in Houston, Ward
implemented a church campaign to reach large congregations with established communication
channels. To reach Houston’s large minority population, the agency partnered with groups at the Community Health Celebration in Houston’s Third Ward. Finally, Ward coordinated a press conference and proclamation at City Hall that maximized media coverage of Faces of Influenza.
By successfully targeting opportunities to communicate the importance of an annual flu vaccination, the community relations campaign put a “face” on influenza illness for women/mothers 40+ and “at risk” groups in the Greater Houston area. Success was evaluated based on the breadth of community reach, which included partnerships with 16 community
groups, seven mega-churches, and secured media impressions, which exceeded 1.1 million in the Houston area, excluding the massive Internet pick-up the news achieved. With these results, Ward met campaign objectives for the Faces of Influenza community relations program.