May Institute’s “What Does Autism Look Like?” campaign is quite impressive, here’s why

the May Institute is a national organization mainly focuses on raising awareness about autism, but they also work to promote awareness about other developmental disorders, brain injuries, mental illness, and behavioral health needs. To promote their message, the Institute launched a multifaceted campaign in April 2012 that gave both a face and voice to the half a million children living with Autism in the United States. The campaign was extremely successful on many different levels, all of which worked together to make it one of the year’s most successful PR campaigns.

The campaign’s main objective was to humanize Autism and reshape the way people think about autism. To do this, the campaign teamed up with Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to give a face to those living with autism in the U.S. The campaign took place during Autism Awareness month and consisted of 125 large T platform posters displayed across 55 stations and “over 44 educational car cards that were displayed in subway cars and buses throughout the MBTA system”, as reported by May Institute. The Campaign itself features both photos and excerpts from the organization’s Faces and Voices of Autism exhibition and added an educational element by displaying quick facts about Autism on the card cards.  With the help of the MBTA system, the campaign was able to reach a staggering 1.3 million commuters each day.

While the campaign itself told a compelling, powerful story that helped to spread Autism awareness across the nation, there were many other aspects to this campaign that made it even more impressive. For instance, the entire campaign and all its parts were carried out in just 3 months, a very small window of time for a campaign of its nature. secondly, one would expect a campaign of this size to cost a company hundreds of thousands of dollars, right? Wrong. the May Institute was able to acquire over $120,000 worth of ad space for just 18,000, which was the total cost of the campaign. This is a feat in and of itself, regardless of the results the campaign yielded.

Due to the “What Does Autism Look Like?” campaign’s unique, captivating approach and its ability to reach such a massive number of people, the May Institute’s website attracted 17,000 viewers during the month of April, which was record-breaking for the organization. The immense success the May Institute’s  communications team brought to the company did not go unrecognized. The campaign was awarded PR Daily’s Best Advocacy Campaign or Lobbying Effort award during the 2013 nonprofit PR awards, which you can learn more about here. Great work May Institute!

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