Editorial Note: Many organizations are using new media channels to reach communities in the response to HIV/AIDS. Recently, we asked our colleagues at the Kaiser Family Foundation to share some information on the EMPOWERED campaign. The following guest post is about EMPOWERED, an example of a national campaign using traditional and new media. Among federal examples, the CDC’s Act Against AIDS has taken a similar approach.
On April 15 in Washington, D.C, as she introduced EMPOWERED, her new campaign developed as part of the Greater Than AIDS initiative, recording artist Alicia Keys called on the women of America to use their power to help bring an end to AIDS.
“Women and girls have been affected by HIV since the start, but that impact has not been recognized,” Ms. Keys said. “And as the sisters, mothers, daughters, and caregivers, we are the backbones of families, communities, and entire societies. We will never see an AIDS-free generation without harnessing the power and strength of women.”
EMPOWERED is a new, national cross-platform HIV awareness campaign that includes TV, radio, and outdoor and print ads, in addition to digital content and social media. By joining with Greater Than AIDS, Alicia Keys is reaching women in the U.S. in everyday ways—on their computers, on their phones, at bus stops—to make everyday choices that can change the course of this epidemic.
EMPOWERED’s digital focus revolves around the powerful stories of five women living with HIV in the U.S. Alicia Keys met with these women and they shared their struggles and triumphs living with HIV. A six-minute signature video excerpt of that conversation was released exclusively online, then promoted widely with direct prompts to watch the video from all outdoor ad placements and through social media distribution by both Greater Than AIDS and Ms. Keys.
One recent Tweet from Ms. Keys read, “Its time2change the way we think about HIV. We R #EMPOWERED! I'm so moved by this,” with a link to the video. The video has also been featured widely on online media sites, including BET, Huffington Post, and the Grio. Greater than AIDS will make a 30-minute version of the video to community groups, for use at events that serve and educate women.
EMPOWERED also continues to roll out new online exclusive features, including five recently released personal profile videos for each of the women in the EMPOWERED signature video with Alicia Keys. These intimate portraits of the women, whose faces grace the EMPOWERED outdoor ads, allow a greater understanding of their EMPOWERED statements and what led each to speak out about HIV. By creating layers of content that build as viewers explore different platforms, EMPOWERED creates a rich learning experience, with the ultimate endpoint of informational resources on HIV prevention, testing, and treatment.
As the campaign goes on, Greater Than AIDS and Ms. Keys will use social media to continue to promote these online features and the actions every woman can take in her own life to protect herself from HIV. Already the campaign has received a wave of positive feedback. For example, a recent Facebook posting by Ms. Keys of photos from the EMPOWERED launch event garnered nearly 49,000 “likes.” An online call out from Ms. Keys for responses to the EMPOWERED video started a conversation among commenters, such as, “This really changed my perspective about HIV,” “I cried watching this,” “Newly diagnosed, thank you.”
Through dialogues about HIV, Alicia Keys CAN help to change the way America thinks about HIV/AIDS. We are EMPOWERED.