Coalition of groups launches three-year anti-arthritis campaign

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The Arthritis Foundation, the Ad Council and the American College of Rheumatology kicked off a three-year-long integrated ad campaign this month. The goal of the effort is to help Americans deal with the effects of osteoarthritis. The campaign includes an interactive microsite, e-mail and social media, as well as TV, print and outdoor advertising.

The groups are seeking to raise awareness of the “A National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis” public health initiative. The effort was created pro bono by ad agency Young & Rubicam in New York. The initiative, which uses the tagline “moving is the best medicine,” promotes exercise and weight loss to manage the pain of osteoarthritis.

“The campaign is aimed at raising awareness and helping people realize that they can take small steps to combat the disease,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “Moving is the best medicine, and doing simple things can really help manage the pain.”

The Web site features a risk assessment tool, and a tool that allows consumers to manage their exercise routines. To use them, visitors must submit their e-mail addresses. They will then receive five e-mail newsletters within a few weeks with information on how to fight arthritis. Registrants will also receive updates on the campaign, which will run through 2010 and then be updated again for the next two years.

The site also has a social media component. It calls users to participate in social communities, including the Arthritis Foundation's social network. On the group's page, consumers can create a profile to participate in community forums and blogs. Consumers are also called to upload videos of themselves exercising in the “Show us your moves” section.

The campaign primarily targets Baby Boomers, consumers over 55 who have arthritis or are most at risk of getting arthritis.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, the disease is the nation's most common cause of disability. Forty-six million adults in the US have arthritis, and 27 million of them have osteoarthritis. The group estimates that by 2030, 67 million will have arthritis of some kind.

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