A Deciding Moment for America
By Jennie Anderson, AIDS.gov Communications Director
This month marks Black History Month and includes the observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (February 7). According to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, Black Americans are disproportionally affected by HIV and "prevention efforts should acknowledge the heavy burden of HIV among Black Americans and target resources appropriately". I spoke with colleagues from Greater Than AIDS, a national movement to respond to the AIDS crisis in the United States, about their the latest series of public service ads. Here's what they had to say.
What is Deciding Moments?
Deciding Moments are everyday opportunities to take a stand against HIV – to be “greater than” the disease. It may be walking into a clinic and asking to be tested, buying (and using) condoms, correcting a piece of misinformation, talking with your child, or keeping up with your medications. Through these simple acts, we help to stop the spread of HIV. And, by each of us doing our part, we can collectively change the course of this epidemic.
This idea inspired the latest series of public service ads from Greater Than AIDS , a national movement to respond to the AIDS crisis in the United States, in particular the severe and disproportionate epidemic among Black Americans. The Deciding Moments campaign features real-life stories from individuals across the country, including those living with HIV and their loved ones, who share their own “Deciding Moments” in the hopes of inspiring others.
What are the different communication channels (traditional and social media) the campaign is using?
Greater Than AIDS began rolling out Deciding Moments-themed outdoor, print, radio, and television public service advertising last fall and will continue to do so through 2011. Leading media companies, including NBC, FOX, CBS, the American Urban Radio Network, CBS Outdoor and Radio, Clear Channel Communications, Radio One, Ebony, Jet, ESSENCE, Vibe, UPTOWN, Heart & Soul and the National Newspaper Publishers Association, among others, are providing significant donated media space to support the campaign as Greater Than AIDS partners.
Greater Than AIDS has also joined with up-and-coming artists to produce original pieces in different musical genres – from rap to hip hop to R&B – to lyrically express the idea behind Deciding Moments (hear them here ).
As a multimedia campaign, Deciding Moments relies heavily on online tie-ins to extend the message and carry the conversation forward. A corresponding profile on the Deciding Moments website provides additional detail about each individual featured in Deciding Moments PSAs, as do short video bios that appear on the Greater Than AIDS website, Facebook page , and the campaign’s YouTube channel . An interactive feature on the campaign’s website allows visitors to post their own deciding moments.
What have been some of the results of the campaign so far?And where do you see the campaign going in the months and years (?) ahead?
The campaign has grown into a true movement: state and local health departments and AIDS service organizations across the nation have embraced Greater Than AIDS and are leveraging the brand and national campaign to undertake targeted efforts in their local areas.
Public response to the campaign has also been strong. Nearly 500 people have uploaded video, photos, or text detailing their Deciding Moments via the campaign’s website and social media pages, and at a special Greater Than AIDS digital photo booth used at select events. GreaterThan.org receives an average of 6,500 visits and 12,000 page views per week, and the campaign has more than 75,000 Facebook fans and more than 2,200 followers on Twitter .
What has been the role of partnerships in the campaign?
Greater Than AIDS is supported by a broad coalition of private and public sector partners. These partners play a critical role in the movement, expanding the reach of the campaign and amplifying the Greater Than AIDS message. One such example is a partnership launched in December between the NBA/WNBA and Greater Than AIDS to mobilize fans and local communities in response to AIDS in the United States and reduce stigma. The partnership includes television and radio public service ads (PSAs) featuring NBA/WNBA players, including Pau Gasol (LA Lakers), Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Candice Wiggins (Minnesota Lynx), whose father, former professional baseball player Alan Wiggins, died of AIDS in 1991, that are widely distributed across NBA media assets. In addition, Greater Than AIDS has been working with NBA teams across the league on special HIV/AIDS-themed games and other targeted community outreach. Co-branded Greater Than AIDS informational resources and special promotions are developed with the teams to promote local services and encourage fans to take action. Activations include PSA placement in team magazines, in-arena signage, and over the air. Fans receive cheer cards, thundersticks and/or other giveaways highlighting the campaign’s “5 Ways to Be Greater Than AIDS” and local area resources. Local health departments and/or AIDS service organizations host a concourse table with Greater Than AIDS informational resources and other promotional items.
What lessons learned and advice do you have for the HIV community when it comes to developing communications campaigns at the local level (often with limited resources)?
Real-life stories and personal connections resonate with the public. When casting for Greater Than AIDS PSAs, the goal is to look for people who have a passion for this issue and feel strongly about being a part of a campaign like this. Some of these people are HIV positive, some are negative, but they all have a personal connection to the issue.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with AIDS.gov blog readers?
HIV began one person at a time and it will end one person at a time. Together we can do this!