Advisory Council January 2016 Meeting Presentation: Alzheimer's Awareness Campaign



Monday, January 25, 2016


What is Brain Health? Campaign Overview

Hunter McKay

Campaign Parameters

  • Target audience:
    • Ages 60 - 70
    • Asymptomatic
  • Funding Level:
    • FY 2015 - $4.2 million
    • Funds appropriated on a one-year basis
    • Messaging Approach: Meet the target audience where they are (as best you can tell)-- even if it is not where you would like them to be

Campaign Research

  • Environmental scan
  • Traditional media scan
  • Social listening
  • Consumer intent modeling
  • In-depth interviews

Possible Message Frames

Alzheimer's/Dementia Brain Health
------- Consumer Reactions -----
  • Dread
  • Participants well aware of impact of dementia on them selves and loved ones
  • Value proposition of early detection very difficult
  • Sense of inevitability
  • Active/aware of their own denial
  • Curiosity
  • What does it mean?
  • Is there something I can do
  • I want to lean more
  • Is it part of a health lifestyle?


Photo of oncoming train.

Campaign Strategy

  • Change the way people think about the aging brain and brain health by:
    • Leveraging natural curiosity and concern that 60-70 year olds have about memory loss to drive interest in brain health
    • Positioning brain health as an integral aspect of the aging journey -- helping people recognize its importance in how they navigate that journey

Messaging Strategy

  1. Introduce concept of "brain health"
  2. Normalize the idea that brain health is a key aspect of overall health
  3. Conduct campaign "bursts" :
    1. Find and work with local partners
    2. Paid media including print -- out-of-home -- doctor's offices - airport takeovers
    3. Hold campaign events (baseball game event, retirement expo) to increase earned media

Campaign Message Box

Brain health is about making the most of your brain as you age.

Help protect your brain health and enjoy benefits now and in the future.

  • Taking steps to keep your brain and body healthy can help you optimize your life now and help reduce the risks related to brain health as you age.
  • Maintaining your brain health can help you to continue to be you and to engage with the world as you age.

Brain health includes things such as thinking, remembering, and planning.

  • Brain health is a key part of overall health.
  • Just like other parts of your body (e.g., your heart, back, ears/hearing), changes in your brain as you age aren't necessarily signs of disease.

The things you do to keep your body healthy also are good for your brain. These include:

  • Being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day
  • Eating healthy
  • Drinking alcohol moderately or not at all
  • Sleeping 7-8 hours a night
  • Learning new things
  • Connecting with family and friends
  • Talking to your doctor about any health issues

Learn what you can do to help keep your brain healthy

Then start talking about it with others: family, friends, your doctor.

  • If you have concerns, talk to your doctor right away.

Key findings from message testing

  • Very good response to our positive brain health messages
  • Understood the connection between the positive messages and the underlying issues of Alzheimer's, dementia, or memory loss
  • Respondents generally liked all messages in the message box. Two resonated the most:
    • "Brain health is about making the most of your brain as you age."
    • "Taking steps to keep your brain and body healthy can help you optimize your life now and help reduce the risks related to brain health as you age."

Implementation Strategies

  • Activate a national dialogue using a celebrity spokesperson, and ACL's brain health expert :
    • PSAs, media tours, national earned media, social media
  • Prompt ongoing conversation on the grassroots level:
    • Events in 2 markets each cycle
    • Local partners and events, paid media, local earned media
  • Provide tools and resources that educate and foster conversations:
    • Campaign website
    • Social Media


What is Brain Health? screen shot.

Social Media Samples

Sample FaceBook Post
FaceBook sample image.


Sample Tweet
Tweet sample image.

Results - Website

  • In the first 2 months, the site had 70,000 unique users and over 80,000 sessions.
  • Nevada and Missouri continued to be our top locations for traffic coming to the site. (~25% of site traffic)
  • The overall average session duration increased from 00:01:14 in September to 00:02:57 in October. Time on the site continues to increase to over 3 minutes per session.
  • The two interactive events, the quiz and accordion, continue to be the top two performing events on the site.

Results -- Social & PSA

  • FaceBook (first 2 months):
    • over 32,000 Fans (expected between 10,000 - 20,000)
    • average engagement rate of 5.5%
    • two of our posts had engagement rates of over 10%.
  • PSAs (first 4 months):
    • TV: over 11,500 airings with a media value (the cost of these ads if we had paid) of about $2 million
    • Radio: 840 airings with a media value (the cost of these ads if we had paid) of over $80,000
    • Total media value: $2,019,946

Looking Ahead

  • Campaign Bursts (General Population)
    • Chicago and San Francisco
    • Event and paid media scheduled for spring 2016
    • Currently identifying partners
  • Data from the first year will be used to optimize the media investments in the second year. For example, mobile platforms had a much lower engagement rate.
  • Discussion of how federal efforts around brain health can be combined to increase reach and consistency
  • Development of similar campaign for Hispanic population underway
    • Messaging research will be re-done
    • Identified a Technical Expert Panel

Return to

National Alzheimer's Project Act Home Page

Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services Page

Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services Meetings Page


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