Division A – 1
Category 2 – Public Service
“Walk in My Shoes” Campaign
Ron Sachs Communications
Research/Situation Analysis: The number of sexual abuse victims continues to rise in Florida and across the country, adding to the estimated 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the U.S. Lauren’s Kids retained Ron Sachs Communications to raise awareness among Floridians about sexual abuse and gain support for pending sexual assault legislation among lawmakers and citizens. To determine the best way to reach our two key audiences and assure passage of each bill, we conducted primary informal research with key state lobbyists, sexual abuse advocates and victims of sexual assault. Additionally, we gathered secondary statistical and reference research, all to determine a benchmark of support and opinion about the issue. From this research we learned the majority of media and the public did not like to discuss the sensitive issue of sexual abuse and for this reason sexual abuse was perpetuated. We also faced the challenge of fighting for news space and time against larger legislative issues because legislative session was ending when the walk was ending. To combat this we decided to create a personal, advocacy driven campaign with a legislative news angle. The target public for this campaign was Floridians and legislators.
Objectives: Through a targeted campaign aimed at educating and influencing Floridians and state legislators our overall objectives were: 1. Within one month, create and implement a successful public relations plan to help pass at least one of the four Lauren’s Kids legislative bills. 2. Unify the campaign’s message and support for the legislative bills by garnering endorsements from at least five key lawmakers, local politicians or celebrities. 3. Secure at least one positive story within each of the eight media markets of the walk route. 4. Raise $5,000 in foundation contributions during the one-month campaign.
Implementation: To draw attention to the issue, Ron Sachs Communications planned and organized a 500-mile journey from Aventura to Tallahassee walked by sexual abuse survivor and Lauren’s Kids founder, Lauren Book-Lim during April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Book-Lim walked for three weeks with stops in key legislative districts and media markets. With Book-Lim as the personal and provocative messenger, we leveraged the foundation’s existing message - “it’s okay to tell” - encouraging people to tell their story in hopes of persuading lawmakers to pass the proposed legislative bills. Because we knew we were up against other high-profile legislative news, we created three news events at each major milestone of the walk: a launch announcement in Tallahassee, a kickoff rally at the start line in Aventura and a finish line rally at the Capitol steps in Tallahassee. Individual media advisories were created and sent out to each media market for every day of the walk, designing a schedule around the media’s needs and creating media opportunities with local officials and local rape crisis centers to show the need for legislative action. All materials that were sent to media and placed on social media sites were linked with the “Walk in My Shoes” page of the Lauren’s Kids website. Reporters and Floridians were encouraged to follow the Walk route that was streamed live on the site. On the page we created a Media Room link that housed press releases, a link to a daily photo gallery where press could download photos for their stories, a fact sheet, flyer and walk schedule, encouraging press to meet Lauren for interviews along the route. Additionally, we created a Legislation link that listed legislative accomplishments and pending bills. Each pending bill was linked to the Senate website, reinforcing our legislative angle. We also created an electronic banner advertisement that was posted on a state aggregated political news site asking readers to visit the Lauren’s Kids website. To keep our target audiences informed about Lauren's daily progress, we implemented a strategic social media plan that included the use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, live streaming video via UStream and Track my Tour a social travel journal that graphically mapped Lauren’s route as she walked it.
Evaluation: After the month long effort, the “Walk in My Shoes” campaign exceeded its objectives as measured by: 1. Securing the passage of three out of the four legislative bills, one of which has already been signed into law by the Governor. 2. Gaining more than 50 high-profile endorsements from such key influencers as Governor Charlie Crist, Attorney General Bill McCollum, Senate President Jeff Atwater, various Senate and House legislators, sports celebrities including Dwyane Wade, 30 companies and associations, 49 local law enforcement agencies and 16 sexual assault centers. 3. Securing an average of 10 stories in each of the eight market in dailies, weeklies, radio, television outlets and blogs covered statewide, nationally and internationally, and 5. Within one month, raising more than $190,000 in contributions for Lauren’s Kids.
Budget: Due to the nature of the foundation and its efforts, there was no money allotted for the campaign. Ron Sachs Communications donated its services, implementing the campaign pro bono. We dedicated more than 240 hours to the campaign, with a value of $36,000 for our services to the project.