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Lady in Red

September 13, 2011

Many people are led to believe that public relations (PR) is nothing but hocus-pocus. That the masses are forced to believe the fluff public relation firms make up. And although I’m sure, somewhere out there you will find such a thing, most of PR is looking to establish mediation; a sort of understanding between organizations and the public.

Back in 2002, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) selected Ogilvy Public Relations to carry out The Heart Truth public awareness campaign after seeing that in 2000, only 34% of women knew that heart disease was and is their #1 killer.  It was crucial that the campaign was carried out accurately in order to successfully bring health awareness to millions of women.

Ogilvy PR had a brilliant idea for the perfect campaign. Based on their research, they came up with a clever and creative stance— “Heart Disease Doesn’t Care What You Wear — it’s the #1 Killer of Women®”. Simple…and when paired with a Red Dress image, the message became something powerful, inspirational, and that has stuck with many women to this day.

Suddenly, the illusion that women are not seriously affected by cardiovascular disease began to crack and women realized that we, too, are at risk. At great risk. The creation and introduction of the Red Dress by Ogilvy PR became a national symbol for women and heart disease awareness. The first Friday in February became “Go Red for Women”, which prompts everyone to wear red in support of the fight against heart disease in women. The NHLBI and the fashion industry at New York’s Fashion Week partnered up to create the Red Dress Collection Fashion Show, which has taken place yearly. Pretty smart considering all women are fashionistas in their own right.  With the support of the fashion industry and celebrity models, a selection of dresses is made available for the public to bid on and the proceeds benefit efforts related to women’s heart health.

It started with the simple image of a red dress, and that was all it took for the nation to become involved in the great effort to bring awareness and educate women across the country about the risks of heart disease. Ogilvy PR did right if you ask me.

Good PR? I think so.

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