The Dry July Foundation challenges Aussies to give up alcohol for the month of July and raise funds for people affected by cancer.
2018 was the 10th anniversary of Dry July. FORWARD Agency was engaged by one of Australia’s leading cancer support charities to create a PR strategy that would refocus the messaging around its core purpose, secure earned media coverage, drive sign ups and raise much needed funds for cancer patients.
Since its inception in 2008, Dry July has seen a steady increase in the number of Aussies signing up to take part, with an average of 20,000 Aussies signing up over the last 5 years to take on the challenge of giving up booze. Although the term ‘Dry July’ has become part of the Australian vocabulary, the Foundation behind the campaign is less well-known. At its core, Dry July is a not-for-profit charity that supports cancer patients across Australia, through funding initiatives for established charities and treatment centres, where they wouldn’t be able to raise the funds themselves. These initiatives include chemotherapy scalp cooling caps, wig libraries and complementary therapies.
In order to overcome media and participant fatigue, as well as re-emphasise Dry July’s key messaging around its purpose, FORWARD needed to develop a strategic and tailored media strategy that would shine a light on the important work Dry July does, and allow us to talk to a large number of Australians through a variety of mediums.
To tackle the challenge posed by Dry July, FORWARD went back to basics of traditional storytelling, developing a robust and targeted media strategy which enabled us to approach a large number of media outlets, with exclusive or unique content. FORWARD executed carefully targeted pitching, which contained key messaging, case study stories and details of the work that Dry July does. In total, FORWARD developed over 75 individual exclusive story angles that were crafted to fit specific media outlets across print, online, TV and radio.
In order to offer media individual packages of content, FORWARD worked with the recipient beneficiaries, as well as the five new and existing major beneficiaries (Look Good, Feel Better, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Leukaemia Foundation, Cancer Council WA and Cancer Council NSW) with their case studies at the heart of the media strategy.
FORWARD worked closely with the individual charities, to source assets from them including case studies, imagery and supporting materials. Following this, we then liaised with the case studies, setting up interviews, understanding their stories and working with them on media opportunities. The case studies were able to share their personal stories with media, and communicate how they have directly benefitted from funds raised by Dry July. This included LGFB workshops, Scalp Cooling Caps, patient accommodation, waiting room WIFI.
Throughout the campaign, FORWARD had access to Dry July’s ambassadors – Adam Spencer, Maz Compton, Ed Hamalgyi and Jaynie Seal – to help spread the Dry July story even further. Each of the ambassadors provided additional targeted pitching and content opportunities, with FORWARD strategically placing interviews with each ambassador across TV, radio, online and print media.
2018 was the largest year ever for Dry July and earned media outcome became a key factor in the success of the campaign.