austynallison

Press conference saves babies

In Communicate, Dubai, Journalism, Marketing, Public relations, Published journalism on November 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm

P&G vaccinates 100 newborns for everyone who attends campaign launch

Originally published in Communicate, July 2008

Communicate (and some other journos) saved some babies yesterday. By going to a press conference.

We were intrigued by a press release from IPN, on behalf of P&G’s Pampers diaper brand, inviting us to attend the launch of their “1 large pack = 1 tetanus vaccine” campaign, run in partnership with UNICEF. It promised that, “P&G has pledged to donate 100 additional vaccines towards the campaign for every person who attends the press conference.” Journalists were encouraged to bring family and friends to further boost numbers at the presser.

Pampers hopes the two-month campaign will inoculate 4 million children in Sudan, Nigeria and Pakistan. That’s one child for every large pack of Pampers sold in the Gulf region. Lulu supermarket chain has agreed to match the drive by paying for a second vaccination per pack of Pampers bought at their stores.

“Just by being here today, we at Pampers are going to donate 100 vaccinations,” said Karim Kamel, associate marketing director for P&G Babycare on the Arabian peninsula to the assembled press.

And the Nashwa Al Ruwaini, host of Dubai TV’s Nashwa talk show and the public face of the campaign, matched Pampers’ commitment to inoculate kids on behalf of us hacks.

The 100-vaccinations idea was a “creative collaboration” between P&G and their PR agency Impact Porter Novelli, says Ahmed Rizk, P&G’s regional brand manager for Pampers. “Since this is the first time that the Pampers-UNICEF campaign has been conducted in the GCC, we have tried to emphasize the importance of the issue as much as possible,” he says. “This was the reason we decided, collectively, to donate 100 vaccines per person. Our celebrity endorser, Nashwa Al Ruwaini, believed in the cause so much that she offered to match the donation, which of course, is more than we had ever anticipated.”

The cost of a vaccine might be small (around 7¢ – plus the logistical costs of getting the jabs to the – often remote regions – where they are needed), and CSR programs are not new, but it makes a change from members of the media receiving a free pen for going to a presser.

And with 60 people attending the press conference (“We were not disappointed,” says Rizk), the region’s journalists managed to stop 12,000 babies from getting tetanus. Not bad for a morning’s work.

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