Issue-based platform in action: our Dark to Light campaign

“I didn’t feel happy about being pregnant, because I didn’t know whether or not I’d be able to have the baby.” – Caroline Swain

Have you ever considered how many women you know who have become pregnant while being diagnosed with or while suffering from a medical condition?

Caroline Swain’s moving story about being pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer is featured in the current “Dark to Light” campaign for the Pregnancy & Medicine Initiative, which we launched three weeks ago. Since the campaign went live, I’ve been reminded of friends whose mothers struggled with diseases such as epilepsy and autoimmune disease, and family members who faced severe depression during and after pregnancy. It’s surprising to think of how many women like this you know.

The Pregnancy & Medicine Initiative and the Dark to Light campaign serve as examples of what we call an “issue-based platform” in action. The initiative’s goal is to bring the issue of pregnancy and medicine to the top of the medical agenda, where it is currently not getting the attention that it deserves. In order to get this visibility, it is necessary to build and demonstrate widespread grassroots support for the issue, so that we can get the attention of influencers and experts who will be able to help make a difference.

Clear goals and solving issues

article2ZN believes that digital media brings new and often overlooked opportunities  for causes like this and can lead to a “win-win” for society and for business.
Digital media and social media are often considered primarily tools to search for information, to connect with people, and to broadcast information. But you could also use it to connect diverse people and organizations to cross-pollinate ideas, accelerate change and find solutions to problems.

In building this campaign, we began by defining a clear strategic objective in cooperation with The Synergist. This is often easier said than done, as many companies and NGOs alike feel great pressure to be present on digital media just because others are, and will jump straight to Facebook or Twitter without considering what it is that they want to accomplish first and identifying the best tactics to achieve this. (This is a common problem in business in general, not only in digital media.)

While a priority for the Pregnancy & Medicine Initiative is to build awareness around the issue among parents-to-be, healthcare professionals, and the general public, we believe that greater awareness should be an output rather than a goal in itself. When considering the “why” of the campaign, we determined that we needed to better understand the interests and concerns of visitors attracted to this campaign to ensure we meet the emotional and informational needs of the target audience in our outreach. The client wanted to gather new stories that we could use in future campaigns and that could put the initiative into a broader perspective. Therefore, the goal that we set out for the Dark to Light campaign was to attract engagement around key themes – social norms and attitudes to medicine – with the aim of collecting stories and gathering cultural data.

A compelling story

A short documentary featuring Caroline Swain’s story was another important component of the campaign. Because “showing” is always more powerful than “telling,” the campaign has a strong focus on visual storytelling, through video and images.

In narrating Caroline’s story, we also give our audience an experience that they can share and relate to. Her story captures attention and poignantly illustrates the challenges and social norms that she had to overcome as a pregnant woman diagnosed with a disease, and the need for more information, research and collaboration around the issue. It highlights how this issue touches not only women, but also their partners, parents, friends, and their children.

The documentary also acts as an invitation for others to share their story and answer the poll (with questions about social norms and attitudes toward treating pregnant women), and provides real, tangible and emotional evidence to back up our messages.

Everything in its place – a central hub


We designed the campaign landing page to act as a central hub to bring all the assets and information together in one place. All the outreach that we do – online through social media and through offline channels – consistently leads the audience back to the hub.

The layout of the landing page was designed with the campaign goals clearly in mind, considering what actions we want our audiences to take and in what order. With strong support from The Synergist, we have also been building partnerships and relationships with other organizations and influencers online and offline, so that they can communicate about our campaign and drive even more people to the landing page.

Attainable KPIs

An essential component of any campaign is setting clear key performance indicators (KPIs). This is because it allows us to measure the success of the campaign, and also to modify our tactics to ensure we are making as much impact as possible.

For the Dark to Light campaign, we started by determining which KPIs were appropriate given the objectives, and then we assigned an overall goal and weekly goals in terms of visibility and engagement. The KPIs are tracked on an ongoing basis and the campaign tactics are adjusted as needed. Because of this, for example, we have already discovered that advertising on Twitter has been more effective than advertising on Facebook.

Halfway through the campaign, the results are exceeding our expectations. So far, 563 people answered our polls and the organic traffic to the campaign website is much higher than expected. We’re also in contact with several women who were interested in sharing their stories and have interviewed six healthcare professionals about their views on pregnancy and medicine.

We are really excited about the great reaction we have received so far, and have already uncovered some fascinating and unexpected insights from women and doctors alike. This campaign will form the foundation for the Pregnancy & Medicine Initiative’s next campaigns and we will continue to share all the wonderful stories that have been shared by brave women, their friends and families, and healthcare professionals.

Check out the campaign and let us know what you think!

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