THON 2015 PR: Why #CancerCannot

By: Kelly Gibson, Strategic Planning Chair

The annual IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon is a goldmine for all good things public relations. You can’t successfully run the world’s largest student-run philanthropy without spreading the word, both locally and nationally. This year, per usual, did not disappoint; with a total close to the record-breaking amount of the previous year. How much of this total can we attribute to their successful branding of THON, and its many social media campaigns? While there are not exact statistics, we can infer that their successful use of certain hashtags, and a blogging campaign have greatly contributed to the organization’s awareness, making FTK even more of a standout concept.

This past year, THON has been dominating their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram social media handles with their 2015 campaign, which features a combination of two different hashtags that can be used as two separate entities, but also together for more effect. THON’s signature #WDYDF campaign, or “Who do you Dance For”, encourages people to tweet or post photos of the people that they dance for, whether it be a family member of a friend affected by cancer, or someone that inspires them. This year, another hashtag has circulated the feed: #CancerCannot. This campaign, like its companion #WDYDF, focuses on the positive aspects of THON and the results of the organization, encouraging people to tweet and post what cancer cannot do, such as it can’t burn out the flame of hope we see in one another for the future. On THON’s website, it is all tied together with how these two messages come together to emphasize THON’s main ideology: that we cannot get cancer win.

I think that the implementation of these two digital campaigns is brilliant, as they definitely crossover. For example, if someone wanted to spread awareness by honoring a family member with #WDYDF, they could easily include how #CancerCannot affect their relationship, and the love they have for that person, expressing how that love can translate as strength. THON has a director, captains, and a few dozen committee members whose role purpose is to spread the organization’s message, and with campaigns like these, it is in the foreseeable future that FTK will become an international concept.

Image credit: Onward State

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