Gum disease is a serious issue affecting one in two adults over age 30. Yet many do not know or understand the risk. Weber Shandwick and the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) partnered to launch Love the Gums You’re With, a public relations program to increase consumer awareness of periodontal disease, its causes and consequences, prevention and treatment. The campaign also sought to grow awareness of periodontists and their expertise, and motivate consumers to ask their dental health professional about their periodontal health. But to break through a cluttered health environment on a subject most consumers weren’t even aware of required a different approach – use humor in a clever way to engage audiences.
Love The Gums You’re With was created to reach both consumers and AAP members. To inform media and the public about gum disease, a comprehensive “State of Gum Health” report was created as a foundational document. AAP’s website, perio.org, featured informative, engaging and shareable campaign content – including a quiz to assess gum health and tools to find a periodontist. To engage AAP members, an online toolkit was created with downloadable materials they could share in local markets.
To educate consumers, national and local media was executed, including a media and satellite broadcast tour in New York with Chris Harrison of “The Bachelor”, as well as robust social media efforts that grew the following of AAP’s Twitter handle. The campaign, which was recognized as an exceptional PR campaign by PR Week, reached hundreds of millions of consumers to educate them about one of the most common, yet never discussed diseases in the world – gum disease.