Text4baby Wins PRSA 2011 Best of Silver Anvil Award

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) presented the 2011 Best of Silver Anvil Award to the “Text4baby: Going Mobile With Pregnancy Education” campaign, which provided and promoted a free service that sends weekly text messages to educate women on how to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. (View PRSA Release here)

The announcement was made last night during PRSA’s Silver Anvil Awards Ceremony, held at the EquitableCenter in New York City. Text4baby was selected as the best of 122 public relations programs nominated for a Silver Anvil Award, the icon of public relations practice.

“The text4baby team’s effort demonstrates the timely importance of public engagement with its Best of Silver Anvil honor,” said PRSA Chair and CEO Rosanna Fiske, APR. “Focusing its attention on young moms, the text4baby campaign maximized wireless usage to provide education that otherwise would have likely not reached them — an outstanding effort to increase women’s chances for a healthy pregnancy and baby’s first year.” 

Text4baby is the first free service to use weekly text messages to help pregnant women and new moms take care of their health and that of their baby. Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411 receive free text messages each week, timed to their due date or their baby’s date of birth.

The founding partners of text4baby include the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, Johnson & Johnson, Voxiva, CTIA — The Wireless Foundation, and Grey Healthcare Group (a WPP company). Johnson & Johnson is the founding sponsor. This unprecedented public-private partnership hired Hill & Knowlton to promote this valuable resource.

“Supporting text4baby was an easy decision for Johnson & Johnson given our ongoing commitment to improving maternal and infant health, and our belief in the power of technology to reach those who need information Picture Caption: Sarah Colamarino, Johnson & Johnson, Judy Meehan, National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, and Stacie Paxton, Hill & Knowlton. most,” said Sarah Colamarino, vice president of corporate communications for Johnson & Johnson. “While the success of this innovative service was award enough, the Silver Anvil honor is particularly rewarding, recognizing a first-rate team who turned a great idea into an even greater health-enhancing reality.”

Each day in America, 11,686 babies are born, with 1,487 born preterm and 964 born with low birth weight. Sixty-three percent of mothers under the age of 20 get adequate pre-natal care. Text4baby is making it much easier for pregnant women and new moms to connect with the care they need. The tips and messages, which were developed in collaboration with government and nonprofit health experts, deal with nutrition, immunization and birth defect prevention, among other topics.

“Text4baby’s success is directly attributable to our tremendous partners who share this recognition with us. Thanks to the founding partners, our federal government partners, and our many national and local allies, women nationwide are using this free service to help give their babies the best possible start in life,” said Judy Meehan, CEO of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, which coordinated the effort.

Facing challenges along the way, the text4baby team, with the help of Hill & Knowlton, worked to secure MTV as a media partner and Sherri Shepherd of “The View” as spokesperson. The team launched the effort with an Associated Press story, followed by a White House blog post, nationwide distribution of a public service announcement created with Shepherd, and a discussion of text4baby on the MTV’s finale special, “Teen Mom With Dr. Drew.” MTV also featured the use of text4baby on the series, “16 and Pregnant.” Text4baby secured more than 178,000 subscribers and more than 500 public and private sector partners.

“Text4baby was more than a client, it was a true passion of Hill & Knowlton’s team from the beginning,” said Hill & Knowlton’s Stacie Paxton, who led the campaign’s public relations effort. “Thank you to the entire text4baby team for including and trusting us in this tremendous endeavor. It’s a true honor to receive the Silver Anvil, but an even greater honor to work alongside the talented men and women who brought text4baby to life.”

In November 2010, Johnson & Johnson announced an expansion of the program and community reach, made possible by its multi-million dollar, multi-year commitment. The program is now poised to engage thousands of additional partners in communities at risk, and aims to serve one million mothers by December 2012.

“Despite stiff competition this year from a number of outstanding entries, the txt4baby program stood out as the ‘Best of Silver Anvil,’” said James J. Roop, APR, Fellow PRSA, 2011 Awards and Honors Committee chair, and president of Roop & Co., Cleveland, Ohio. “Still, the ‘best of’ finalists included any number of programs that showed the true business value of public relations, as well as the myriad ways in which public relations serves the public interest and public good.”

About the Silver Anvils

The Silver Anvil Awards program has grown in scope and stature since its inception in 1946, and awards are now given in 59 categories and subcategories. In the 60-plus-year history of the Silver Anvils, many organizations have been recognized, including solo practitioners, agencies of all sizes, large and small businesses, top corporations, nonprofits, associations and government agencies. Visit the Silver Anvil Award website for a complete list of 2011 winners.

About the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)

With more than 31,000 members, PRSA is the largest organization of public relations professionals and students. PRSA is comprised of 112 local Chapters organized into 10 geographic Districts; 14 Professional Interest Sections that focus on issues, trends and research relevant to specialized practice areas, such as technology, health care, financial communications, entertainment and sports, and travel tourism; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which has more than 300 Chapters at colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. PRSA is headquartered in New York.


Photo, from Left: Sarah Colamarino, Johnson & Johnson, Judy Meehan, National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, and Stacie Paxton, Hill & Knowlton.