CMVIRUS: Spread the word, not the virus
BREAKING: National CMV Foundation announces the launch of our new public health campaign: CMVIRUS – Spread the Word, Not the Virus.
This campaign has been a labor of love in partnership with GSW
, an award-winning, full-service healthcare communications agency, who brought their experience in working with MiracleFeet
, NYC Botanics
and others to help unravel the mystery of cytomegalovirus (CMV) and shed some light on our recent advocacy work.
CMV is the most common infectious cause of birth defects in the United States and 91% of women don’t know about it. National awareness is alarmingly low, and in the absence of federal funding, a vaccine in-market, or amplified attention from the CDC and news media, we felt it was our responsibility to initiate a campaign that may ‘shock and awe’ the general public. Our intent is clear – turn heads, make people stop, read, and identify with the creative, and in turn ask his/her/their doctor about how to reduce the risk of acquiring CMV before or during pregnancy.
There is nothing easy or gratifying in demonstrating how this virus is transmitted or how to try to prevent the spread. CMV is ubiquitous. It isn’t easily digestible like Zika – which the media sensationalized by showcasing images of mosquitos and babies with microcephaly to incite fear and garner attention – and yet Zika still has a much lower rate of incidence in the United States (PBS
For CMVIRUS, the images are visually compelling – the virus is vividly personified, and transmission is demonstrated through saliva, tears, and urine, in this case, from a toddler to a pregnant woman. This campaign will be seen and heard throughout the country in partnership with Publicis Health Media
– including print and online – in an effort to inform, educate, and advocate in bold pursuit of our mission.
To be clear, in no way do we want to invoke guilt or be insensitive to the existing CMV community with this campaign. There is more than enough guilt and emotion and concern carried by our CMV families, including individuals at National CMV as an organization founded by mothers of children born with congenital CMV, who live this daily. We hope our parents can rally behind this campaign and share widely, so that we may prevent the spread to future babies. If we learned anything from the Zika model in visibility, sometimes you just need to scare people to force them to act.
While brainstorming the creative direction for this campaign, the team at GSW took a step back and simply asked, what is CMV? After doing some basic online searches and casually surveying their office mates, it became clear that this acronym didn’t seem to immediately resonate.
“They said, what if we cut to the chase and start using ‘CMVirus’ as a more effective means for getting the word out? And that to me was a brilliant insight,” said Kristen Spytek, President. “We need to change the way we talk about CMV with the general population so people sit up a little straighter in their chairs and recognize that it’s a serious virus worth talking about due to the devastating effects it can have on babies in utero.”
Learn more about the thinking behind the CMVIRUS creative, and why both National CMV and GSW are extremely proud of the work here
. And go more in-depth by listening to a behind the scenes interview with Becky Ericson from UpLevel Consulting, LLC., Nick Capanear, from GSW NY, and Kristen Spytek, with this dedicated podcast
There are two ways to get involved now –
- Like, share, and visit CMVirus.org
- Sign our PLEDGE for congenital CMV to be included on the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP) to #SCREEN4CMV
Category: Advocacy, Awareness, Community, "Fueling Our Mission", Prevention