In February 2016, the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus an international public health emergency. To respond to the growing outbreak in 2016, the CDC Foundation, with funding support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Walgreens, contracted with RTI International to develop, implement and evaluate a Zika awareness campaign for pregnant women in Puerto Rico. The result of this effort was Detén el Zika (This is How We Stop Zika), a campaign developed to illustrate ways to protect pregnant women from Zika infection.
Developed in a period of just over three months, Detén el Zika was a comprehensive social marketing campaign based on formative research and audience insights.
The campaign’s creative elements, applied across a full suite of creative materials, used clear language and uplifting messages to encourage pregnant women to protect themselves and to encourage their partners, family, friends and community to join efforts to take action to reduce the spread of Zika. The campaign was launched in Puerto Rico on June 30, 2016, as part of a series of Zika Action Day events and was then promoted for a three-month period through September 30, 2016.
Given the campaign’s abbreviated development timeline and the relatively short implementation period, metrics indicate that Detén el Zika was successful in reaching a large number of the intended audiences and in securing donated media spots. Additionally, because of the success of this initial run, the campaign brand has been extended into other products and messages in Puerto Rico, and has been leveraged for similar efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa.
The CDC Foundation and CDC were able to develop and launch the first Zika risk communications campaign for pregnant women in Puerto Rico. Formative research from Detén el Zika informed the framework for the development of CDC’s national Zika prevention campaign for the continental United States, helping to significantly shorten the runway for implementation. Campaign assets were further leveraged with federal funding to further amplify initial investments and impact.