Doctors of the World: More than a costume

Matt Kortum

In 2014 Doctors of the World were in desperate need of money to fight the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa. They were largely unknown within the United States. A unique oppurtunity arose in October 2014, when the Ebola hazmat suit was slated to be one of the most popular Halloween costumes in the United States. Seeing an opportunity they launched the “More than a Costume” campaign, in which they asked people to purchase and donate a real hazmat suit for Doctors of the World, instead of the Halloween costume. This was done largely through social media and PR, but the most interesting fact is that they asked major media companies to donate space that would normally have been paid spots. They were able to get full page ads donated from the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. With these donated ads they saw lifetime donor numbers double, got a 45% increase in social following, 215 million impressions, and within 7 days, raised enough to equip 4,600 doctors with Ebola suits, all without spending a dime.

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