Speak Media

#UniteforParkinsons: 1 day. 180 countries. 12 million people. An unprecedented level of awareness.



1 day. 180 countries. 12 million people. An unprecedented level of awareness

These numbers show that the campaign delivered against its objectives, and exceeded expectations in several areas too. For the first time, the global community united on World Parkinson’s Day with a single, clear message – that we must join forces if we are to defeat Parkinson’s.
— Parkinson's UK post-campaign report

the challenge

11 April 2017 marked 200 years since Dr James Parkinson published his “Essay of the Shaking Palsy”, which established Parkinson's Disease (PD) as a medical condition. Two of the world’s leading PD charities – Parkinson’s UK and the European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA) – saw this as an opportunity to bring the Parkinson’s community together to help raise unprecedented levels of awareness.

As part of a multichannel campaign (encompassing digital, social, e-mail, paid and PR), they commissioned Speak to create a content strategy in support of the campaign, encouraging relevant audiences to visit the #uniteforparkinsons microsite and share the hashtag.

Parkinson’s Life – launched in 2015 – is a content-rich online magazine that effectively engages key audiences within the Parkinson’s community to raise awareness, publishing 3-4 news and feature stories per week to its 27,000 unique monthly visitors. It is produced by Speak Media on behalf of the EPDA.

Parkinson’s UK and the EPDA approached our Parkinson’s Life editorial team to be the official media partner for the Unite for Parkinson’s campaign, leveraging the platform and its social/e-mail channels to serve as a content hub.

Our brief as media partner was to create credible, engaging and shareable content that would encourage our core audience to act as well as helping to spread word of the campaign on Twitter and Facebook. The stated aims of Parkinson’s UK/EPDA were to:

  • Raise international awareness of Parkinson’s.

  • Create a simple and engaging campaign that could be easily shared by all audiences.

  • Make World Parkinson's Day 2017 a truly global event.

  • Position World Parkinson’s Day as a platform to grow a global Parkinson’s community of support.



what we did

Our strategy was based on targeting our audience with campaign-specific content via the three core PL channels; parkinsonslife.eu, social media (Twitter/Facebook), and email, as outlined below.

We devised a 12-week editorial calendar of special features, to run alongside our regular weekly output on Parkinson’s Life – with a branded #uniteforparkinsons info panel and calls to action prominent on all campaign stories. We published the following 10 articles between February and April – leveraging experts, competitions, a specially-commissioned World Parkinson’s Day poem, emotive people stories and debates that would maximise reader interest and interaction.

To achieve as much engagement as possible, we promoted all stories via Parkinson’s Life Twitter and Facebook channels, scheduling round-the-clock activity. A special World Parkinson’s Day e-shot was sent out on the day itself (11 April) to remind readers to take part in the campaign.



the outcome

Reach: Our 10 stories and social posts recorded a total organic reach of 152,731 (based on page views and social post impressions) during the campaign, which reached a total of 13million people from 180 countries.

Engagement: The average time ‘on page’ for the 10 #uniteforparkinsons articles published on parkinsonslife.eu was 5m 41s.

Conversion: The Parkinson’s Life e-shot featuring campaign content/banner was the single most effective channel during the campaign, with 16% of subscribers visiting the campaign website and of those, more than 50% downloading toolkits. 

Special thanks to you for all the commitment, work and effort that you have put in with Parkinson’s Life and social media to spread the word around the world about the campaign.
— Dom Graham, The European Parkinson's Disease Association