Organizations Partner to Promote “Going Mobile With Pregnancy Education”

From left: Sarah Colamarino, Johnson & Johnson, Judy Meehan, National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, and Stacie Paxton, Hill & Knowlton.

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) presented the 2011 Best of Silver Anvil Award to the “Text4baby: Going Mobile With Pregnancy Education” campaign, which provided and promoted a free service that sends weekly text messages to educate women on how to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.

The announcement was made during PRSA’s Silver Anvil Awards Ceremony, held at the EquitableCenter in New York City. Text4baby was selected as the best of 122 public relations programs nominated for a Silver Anvil Award, the icon of public relations practice.

Text4baby is the first free service to use weekly text messages to help pregnant women and new moms take care of their health and that of their baby. Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411 receive free text messages each week, timed to their due date or their baby’s date of birth.

The founding partners of text4baby include the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, Johnson & Johnson, Voxiva, CTIA — The Wireless Foundation, and Grey Healthcare Group (a WPP company). Johnson & Johnson is the founding sponsor. This unprecedented public-private partnership hired Hill & Knowlton to promote this valuable resource.

Each day in America, 11,686 babies are born, with 1,487 born preterm and 964 born with low birth weight. Sixty-three percent of mothers under the age of 20 get adequate pre-natal care. Text4baby is making it much easier for pregnant women and new moms to connect with the care they need. The tips and messages, which were developed in collaboration with government and nonprofit health experts, deal with nutrition, immunization and birth defect prevention, among other topics.

Facing challenges along the way, the text4baby team, with the help of Hill & Knowlton, worked to secure MTV as a media partner and Sherri Shepherd of “The View” as spokesperson. The team launched the effort with an Associated Press story, followed by a White House blog post, nationwide distribution of a public service announcement created with Shepherd, and a discussion of text4baby on the MTV’s finale special, “Teen Mom With Dr. Drew.” MTV also featured the use of text4baby on the series, “16 and Pregnant.” Text4baby secured more than 178,000 subscribers and more than 500 public and private sector partners.

In November 2010, Johnson & Johnson announced an expansion of the program and community reach, made possible by its multi-million dollar, multi-year commitment. The program is now poised to engage thousands of additional partners in communities at risk, and aims to serve one million mothers by December 2012.

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