Every Body Walk!

Building a story-driven campaign.

Kaiser Permanente, a not-for-profit healthcare provider active across the United States, serving 12.5 Million members with $40B annual revenue, approached us in 2010 with a unique request: To create a documentary film about walking. As much as we loved the challenge, we advised our client to start with smaller steps of an online campaign across all at that time available social media platforms, and slowly developing an initiative for walking towards short films, apps and potentially a tv special. 

7 years later we looked back at an extraordinary branded content case study:  250 short films on various youtube channels, website and social media profiles (FB, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest ...); events including a national walking summit in DC, keynotes at various healthcare and media conferences. A "Call to Action on Walking" initiated by US Surgeon General Dr.Regina Benjamin and then put into action by US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. And finally, an Emmy-nominated PBS series called 'City Walk" that broadcast into 30 Million homes over two seasons and 16 episodes. Media partnerships with Bloomberg Citylab and Funny or Die enhanced the reach of this campaign with an annual budget of around $1.5M even further.

Here's a review of what was accomplished during the first 4 years alone as a Case Study drawn up from the client's perspective:  It’s not every day that a C-suite executive requests a documentary film on the health benefits of walking. Recognizing the need to build support for the topic of walking and an audience for the documentary, a scalable, integrated digital media campaign, with the film as the centerpiece, offered the most strategic approach. Cultivating relationships with like-minded partner organizations and walking advocates was our charter. Our walking evolution began January 26, 2011 with the launch of everybodywalk.org, powered by Kaiser Permanente.

At every turn, the campaign has embodied creativity, making walking cool and contemporary. Compelling stories with broad appeal have been the hallmark of Every Body Walk! – from dog walking to mall walking and walking for health to creating a walking infrastructure. Thought-leaders and experts have shared their knowledge on the importance of walking. Social media has been an engagement tool that has allowed the campaign to reach the masses in real time – from Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest and Instagram.

The act of putting one foot in front of the other is making a significant comeback as captured in our documentary film, “The Walking Revolution.” In urban, suburban and rural areas, people are back on their feet, walking whenever and wherever they can. Whatever the motivation, the power of walking is undisputed.

A good story well-told can truly make a difference in how one sees the world. Whether a documentary film, television series, public service announcement or other form of media, Every Body Walk! exists to tell compelling and entertaining stories that motivate people to walk.

Since Every Body Walk! launched in January 2011, the campaign has been a creator, curator and convener. These three deliberate actions have resulted in the sustained success of Every Body Walk! This case study aims to provide an inside look at the campaign and its impact.

Create a brand.

The effort to get adults walking was all-inclusive, so we sought a brand name that fit the bill. Every Body Walk! received the stamp of approval from Kaiser Permanente senior leaders. To align with Kaiser Permanente, the typography, look and feel of the campaign followed the brand guidelines and color palate. These elements were carefully applied to the Every Body Walk! logo, website and swag. The tagline clearly stated the aim of the campaign – to get adults moving 30 minutes a day, five days a week. This would allow walkers to easily achieve the weekly adult physical activity requirement of 150 minutes. The concept of dividing walks into three 10-minute breaks or two 15-minute breaks was promoted as an option. Keeping the message simple allowed it to catch on.

Bob Sallis, MD, family medicine, Kaiser Permanente in Fontana, Calif., is physician advisor for Every Body Walk! He’s our media spokesperson and liaison to the medical community. He’s shared catchy, thought-provoking messages about walking like “throw away your scale” and introducing a “drug called walking” that speak to the activity’s potential to be addictive. Delivering more than 50 presentations annually to domestic and international audiences, referencing the amazing health benefits of walking, Dr. Sallis even laces up his shoes in each locale to show how easy it is to incorporate walking into the day. His walks are chronicled in a blog on everybodywalk.org.

Through events, announcements and connecting with experts, the campaign has consistently delivered on the promise of public relations by maximizing earned, owned and sponsored opportunities. This approach, coupled with a solid editorial calendar, has created a steady drumbeat around the topic of walking. Since the launch of Every Body Walk!, we have seen a resurgence in walking by way of personal and media interest.

Recognizing that most people turn to online resources and broadcast television for news and information, Every Body Walk! has successfully used both platforms for earned media. The first endeavor that elevated engagement with Every Body Walk! was the “Walk-and-Talk” public service announcement. The exclusive piece was produced and hosted by Funny or Die, a premiere online comedy channel that has more than 1 million viewers a day. More than 834,000 viewers have seen the PSA, which offers evergreen content. Working with Funny or Die allowed the campaign to reach a more diverse audience that might not have otherwise engaged with Every Body Walk!

The filming of the PSA included the all- star cast of “The West Wing” for their first reunion since the show ended in 2006. The actors donated their time and the location for the shoot was provided compliments of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

As a result of the PSA, which has won several awards, Funny or Die became a partner of the campaign and continues to support our work.

“City Walk” has been viewed more than 2.5 million times...

In 2013, Every Body Walk! became the content source – and is credited at the end of each episode – of a national television show appropriately named, “City Walk.” Interestingly, “City Walk” features content initially filmed for the Every Body Walk! short films. The show reaches more than 50 million U.S. households through Los Angeles public television station KCET and its national cable television affiliate LinkTV. Aimed at urban millennials, “City Walk” has been viewed more than 2.5 million times and is now available at kcet.org/citywalk and on Hulu, an online subscription channel. Select “City Walk” segments are also available on everybodywalk.org.

By licensing the footage to KCET, the station took a different twist on the content and created a series that

features walking in major cities across the country. This illustrates how strong stories can be packaged in multiple formats to reach different audiences.

The show has proven so successful for KCET that the network has committed to broadcasting a second season of “City Walk” in 2014.

The PSA with Funny or Die and the “City Walk” series underscore the power of earned media to carry a message and reach a diverse audience. These strong placements give added credibility to Every Body Walk! Translated into a media spend, the PSA has a value of more than $1.5 million, which includes the production, talent, location and distribution. The value of the national media coverage earned from this announcement (150 outlets includingThe Washington Post, CNN, ABC News, and Hollywood Reporter) is an estimated $500,000.

While the raw footage for the “City Walk” television series was licensed from Every Body Walk!, KCET provided post-production services and air time (locally and nationally) at a value of $1.1 million compared to a paid programming arrangement. Advertising (print, radio and out-of- home in Los Angeles) is valued at $100,000. In addition, the station hosted “City Walk” screening events at Soho House (a private members’ club) in Los Angeles and New York.

Every Body Walk! has curated extensive content and resources to support the campaign. Kaiser Permanente owns all campaign assets.

When Every Body Walk! launched, we took our message to social media to capitalize on the social and mobile nature of walking. We turned to the logical platforms of Facebook and Twitter for starters. Grown organically, the campaign has amassed a strong social-media following across platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. We actively engage with our audiences on a daily and weekly basis. The social data gathered enables us to more effectively position our content and messages. What’s more, it is yet another tool to connect with our partners and thought leaders about walking.

A mobile app was developed for Every Body Walk! shortly after the campaign launched. It captured time walked, distance walked and calories burned. That information could be saved in a history of walks. In February 2013, the app was refreshed to include an upgraded login feature and to allow sharing of walks via social media. The app is a free download for Apple and Android devices. The refreshed mobile app has been downloaded more than 175,000 times.

Video short films can be found on the walking hub at everybodywalk.org, the Every Body Walk! YouTube channel and sprinkled among various websites and blogs on walking, lifestyle, sports and urban living, to name a few, compliments of our partners and other stakeholders.

There are more than 150 short films that address everything from starting a walking routine to walking at work to what makes a community walkable. These pieces feature Kaiser Permanente physicians as well as noted experts from academia, community organizations, politics and business. The short format makes the films sharable and easy to watch.

Acting as a distributor of rich media content has brought an added dimension to the campaign. When filming in a city, we make sure to capture major attractions and landmarks, and to talk with local experts. When the short films are produced, they are promptly shared with those featured in the piece as they are most likely to embed the content or share it with others. Chambers of commerce and convention and visitors bureaus are heavy utilizers of Every Body Walk! content to showcase their cities.

Taking a simple concept and giving it broad appeal takes creativity. That creativity came in the form of a compelling campaign that aimed to get people moving. We created a brand that everyone could get behind, curated content featuring real-life stories from average, every day people who believe in the importance of walking, and convened a base of enthusiastic supporters to be our partners.

Creating a strong social media presence that continues to grow organically, has allowed the campaign to build sticky relationships with walking enthusiasts and reach their followers.The award-winning Every Body Walk! campaign symbolizes public relations at its finest. The recognition, visibility and engagement are excellent examples of earned media.

The fresh, contemporary approach taken to the topic of walking has increased its relevance. The campaign content is evergreen so Every Body Walk! is exciting and new whether discovered in 2011 in its infancy or 2014 when its gained ground. Every day more people engage with Every Body Walk! and learn about the benefits of taking a walk. If this trend continues, step by step, we are sure to create a walking revolution.