Best Use of Social Media for Cause Advocacy

PadillaCRT launches effort to curb teen drug addiction

Phase 1 of ‘The Medicine Abuse Project’ combined social media with live action to help save teens’ lives.

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Ninety percent of addictions start in the teenage years, often as a result of teens abusing prescription drugs to get high. As part of its vision of young people living free of addiction, nonprofit organization The Partnership at turned to PR agency PadillaCRT to launch “The Medicine Abuse Project: Preventing Half a Million Teens from Abusing Medicine by 2017.” The campaign’s rollout was a success, earning PadillaCRT first place in the Best Use of Social Media for Cause Advocacy category of PR Daily’s 2013 Social Media Awards.

Launch week was crucial and challenging: PadillaCRT aimed to obtain 5,000 pledges, engage top social media influencers, and secure top-tier media impressions. The strategy called for a mix of virtual experiences and brick-and-mortar events to gain attention, support, and pledges.

Online events included a Twitter chat with iVillage, a live webinar in partnership with A&E Networks, and a Facebook chat with “Celebrity Rehab” host Dr. Drew Pinsky and model Amber Smith. The live component consisted of activities like an installation at Grand Central Terminal featuring giant medicine bottles, personal stories from teens and families affected by medicine abuse, and iPad stations where visitors could sign the pledge to take action.

Results demonstrated the success of phase 1: more than 86 million total impressions and 41 million social media impressions, media coverage in outlets like USA Today,, and “Entertainment Tonight,” and more than 5,000 pledges signed at the campaign website,

Credit for the campaign, and the award, goes to Debbie Myers, executive vice president; Brian Ellis, executive vice president; Marcy Walsh, vice president; Kin Blake, account supervisor; and Joanna Leis, account executive.

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