Division C - Audio/Visual Tools of Public Relations
Category 4 - Film or Video Public Service/more than one minute
Healthy Start Educational Videos
RB Oppenheim Associates, Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition, Mike Vasilinda Productions

Award of Distinction

Research/Situation Analysis: The Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition (CAHSC) has been serving Leon and Wakulla Counties for more than 15 years. In that time, the program has offered at-risk pregnant and postpartum women services ranging from medical and community referrals and emergency housing to breastfeeding education and mental health counseling. To heighten awareness of these and other services, and to provide education regarding the health of pregnant women, CAHSC retained RB Oppenheim Associates (RBOA) for the development of a social marketing/media campaign. The process began with focus group research to garner information on how best to educate and reinforce the importance of good health for women over their life spans. The results proved there was a lot to accomplish. Less than half the participants – women between the child-bearing ages of 15 and 44 – said they knew about the Healthy Start program. The majority of women ages 22 to 44 indicated they knew very little about services available at CAHSC. That most of the women, regardless of age, mentioned television, doctors, nurses and health care professionals as the best source to inform them about Healthy Start services was evidence that video production – in the form of public service announcements (PSAs) and a short educational video – should be the campaign’s primary medium. A video not only would reinforce the campaign messages women would see in the PSAs, but serve as a CAHSC marketing and communications tool for years after the campaign concludes. The focus group results also helped to create the compelling messages and identify the best “spokespeople” to share them.

Objectives: To create a long-form public service video that would (1) educate all women of child-bearing age of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle before, during and after pregnancy using positive stories and perspectives from Healthy Start moms, staff, advocates and health care providers; (2) generate interest among women, that they may seek knowledge and resources through CAHSC; among health care providers, that they may inform more women about the availability of Healthy Start; and among people in the community, that they may volunteer time or financial support; (3) arm Healthy Start staff with evidence of strides CAHSC is making to combat the community’s high rate of infant mortality, low birth-weight deliveries and premature births.

Implementation: During a concept development meeting for the five-to-six-minute video, from which footage would be taken to create three 30-second PSAs, CAHSC and RBOA decided the “cast” would include moms who are willing to share the benefits of their Healthy Start experience; well-known medical providers who believe in Healthy Start; and familiar faces from around the coalition and community who are maternal and child health “experts.” Through well-choreographed interviews, these individuals would be able to effectively capture the interest and attention of other women of child-bearing age by offering examples to which they can relate. Proceeding with a testimonial style opened up a possibility for designing two targeted, shorter videos, as opposed to one longer video, whereby Mike Vasilinda Productions (MVP) believed 90 percent of each video could include identical footage, with the remaining 10 percent focusing on either the importance of pre-pregnancy health or the availability of Healthy Start care to women who have just had a baby. CAHSC identified a planned Childbirth Education Reunion as a valuable opportunity to interview some of these women. RBOA conducted 12 interviews at the event, which was held at the Leon County Health Department in February 2007. MVP hosted two additional production days in order for local doctors and Healthy Start experts to share their perspectives on ways Healthy Start helps women in the community. Upon editing, MVP had approximately three hours of powerful footage to choose from. Each interview was a huge success, so “on-message” and full of honest emotion that there was no need for costly voice-overs. Rather, MVP applied the cost-savings and donated extra time to create three independent, targeted videos. In order to address each of the three targeted audiences – pregnant woman waiting for their prenatal check-up, women who have just had their babies and waiting to complete the paperwork, and community organizations -- MVP threaded throughout the interviews graphic transitions that utilize the Healthy Start logo, colors and facts.

Evaluation: The first time RBOA and Healthy Start staff watched the completed videos, tears came to their eyes. Said CAHSC community relations director Christine Dreps, who worked the interviews and coding raw footage with MVP: “I was astounded when I saw the final product. I could not believe the PSAs and videos could actually be that good….that real…that powerful! I am so proud of them and they are making such a difference.” The videos were also recently applauded by licensed psychologist and Assoc. Professor of FAMU, Yolanda K. H. Bogan, Ph.D., “for being an informative and clear resource for new and expectant families by addressing the wide range of services CAHS offers … They are a warm and personable invitation to take advantage of CAHS programs that exist for all mothers and babies… shows mothers and prospective mothers how to begin that process.” This proves the videos’ potential to carry a consistent, positive Healthy Start message to all targeted audiences into the future. The prenatal video is currently being used by the North Florida Women’s Clinic, where a woman may watch it in the privacy of her exam room. CAHSC said 10 OB/GYN offices throughout Leon and Wakulla Counties have confirmed interest in receiving a video and will be sharing it with their patients by the end of the summer. The civic video has already been presented to Edward Knowles, Private Wealth Manager at AmSouth; Anne Hoffnagle, Trust Manager at SunTrust Bank; Healthy Start Board of Directors; two potential CAHSC Board members (both agreed to join the board of directors after seeing the video); Sissy Boyd, Congressman Alan Boyd’s wife; United Way representatives from St. Paul/Minneapolis; and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Budget: The cost for the three educational videos, combined with the three PSAs, totaled $15,000. RBOA and MVP together donated more than $20,000 in services to the project.