Background to our campaign
Wednesday 18th November was World COPD day. BI UK’s respiratory team, in conjunction with PR Agency WE Consulting, wanted to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by attempting to “make Twitter #cough”.
To raise interest in and conversations about COPD (both to increase awareness and to encourage earlier diagnosis), particularly around World COPD Day, we developed a campaign to run across Twitter with the aim of creating a spike in mentions of the word ‘cough’ by using #cough in all tweets. When we measured the number of tweets sent across a time frame, and showed them in a graph, they mimicked the sound wave of a cough.
While generating Twitter interest/trends was a key aim, the campaign was also a springboard for generating discussion within print, broadcast and offline media around COPD, focusing on:
- The need for earlier detection – and the importance of not ignoring a long-running cough when it comes to seeking medical help
- The need for people affected by COPD to receive more support – raising awareness of the difficulties of living with COPD
We made use of the Thunderclap platform to act as another focal point for Twitter activity. 270 individual accounts signed up to the Thunderclap, exceeding our target of 250. This ‘pre day’ activity helped drive the initial ‘spike’ that looks like the first part of the cough. At 10.30 on 18th November, Thunderclap sent out an approved Tweet on the timelines of the 270 users, which created a huge spike in social media activity for #cough.
Supporters of our Thunderclap campaign had a combined follower reach of 691,852 and included a range of different people and organisations, including large charities like Cancer Research UK, British Lung Foundation and the COPD Foundation, BI global colleagues from across the World, professional bodies such as the American Thoracic Society, the UKCPA and ARNS, and individual MPs and MSPs. Even the comedian Helen Lederer signed up to support the campaign.
On the day we saw tremendous engagement from across the Twitter community, and with several hours still to go, the graph was showing the picture we hoped it would, with a big upturn from more than 1,300 tweets that were sent including the #COUGH, and people following through on our links to an infographic and to the BLF COPD website.