The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is the latest nonprofit to launch a hashtag campaign to raise awareness for its cause.
The foundation recently rolled out a campaign it created with Momentum Communications Group in time for National Memory Screening Day Nov. 18.
Called Remember Together, the campaign spreads the message about the free year-around memory screenings it offers at community sites nationwide.
Like some other hashtag campaigns, the AFA and Momentum are capitalizing on society’s obsession with selfies and social media. This one asks the public to re-create old photos of favorite memories and share them using the hashtag #RememberTogether.
"With Alzheimer’s Disease, most of the messages out there are very scary and rightly so," Momentum President Jim Miller told Campaign."It’s a very scary, serious disease. But we wanted to motivate people out of inspiration, not fear."
The AFA thinks that by engaging people in a social-media environment they are comfortable with in a fun way, it can start a conversation people might otherwise avoid.
"Through our campaign with Momentum, we aim to reduce the fear and stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s disease and encourage people to seek early detection and proper treatment," Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America said in a statement.
Momentum and the AFA took about three weeks to create the hashtag, a website and a guerrilla marketing campaign that launched in late October. It got 30,000 Twitter impressions, including posted photos, retweets and favorites, in its first three days. People from across the country posted photos, and Miller is still laughing about the pic of a participant who recreated a childhood photo of himself on a hobby horse.
"It’s been a really quick turnaround, and it’s going really great so far," Miller said.
Miller suggested that Alzheimer’s is particularly well-suited for a photo campaign. "After all, what are photos except for memories?" he asked.
Momentum launched the campaign with guerrilla events at Union Square and Washington Square in New York. The company set up backdrops and props that allowed people passing by to re-create either their prom photos or a day at the beach. About 150 people posed and took photos, which were posted to the campaign’s site.
"We’re not starting some new trend — people love taking photographs and posting them," said Miller. "This is a chance for them to do things they were already doing to raise awareness about the free screenings. That’s what it’s all about."
Miller acknowledged the hashtag campaign space is pretty crowded."You have to be genuine, and I think that we are," he said. "If you have a positive message that people care about, you’ll be fine."