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Achieving healthy birth outcomes via Text4baby

Published: 15 Jan 2011

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Client: National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies

Agency: H&K

Campaign: Text4baby

Timescale: February 2010 – ongoing

A quick look

Each year in the US, over 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday, signifying a national public health crisis. H&K engaged the audience directly sending more than one million text messages in just three months. Partnering with MTV on TV shows 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom resulted in 1,500 new subscribers to the initiative in just 24 hours and it’s tie up with Emmy-award winning talk show host of The View, Sherri Shepherd, reached more than 32 million.  


Achieving healthy birth outcomes in underserved populations in the US to prevent high numbers of premature births and decrease infant mortality rates has beomce a major healthcare priority.

To help address this issue and provide vital information to moms-to-be and new moms, the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) engaged Hill & Knowlton to launch  drive visibility of an awareness initiative and gain widespread use and acceptance by moms-to-be and new moms, leading to improved health outcomes. 


Text4baby is a free mobile information service designed to promote healthy birth outcomes among underserved populations. With over 1 trillion SMS text messages sent in the US last year and texting use disproportionately higher among women of childbearing age and minority populations, text messaging represents an enormous and as yet untapped channel for delivering this vital health information.

An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), text4baby will help women have safe and healthy pregnancies by providing them with information they need to give their babies the best possible start in life.

Text4baby founding partners include National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), Voxiva, CTIA - The Wireless Foundation, Grey Healthcare Group (a WPP company) and founding corporate sponsor Johnson & Johnson.  US government partners include the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense Military Health System. In addition, Pfizer is among the program’s premier sponsors.

H&K engaged directly with moms-to-be and new moms using mobile technology and social media channels, building key media partnerships with parties well positioned to promote text4baby and secured a national spokesperson who is respected by this key group.


Launch efforts drove more than 37,000 subscribers, delivering more than one million text messages in a three-month period. The service is already making a difference.

•    H&K’s PR efforts resulted in more than 650 placements and an estimated 75 million impressions. The AP exclusive ran in more than 200 outlets, including the New York Times, Business Week, Forbes, Atlanta Journal Constitution and Miami Herald. Other standalone stories appeared in top-tier publications such as The Washington Post, LA Times, and TIME Magazine.  
•    H&K secured Sherri Shepherd of ABC’s Emmy-winning morning talk show The View to donate her time to record radio PSAs. Shepherd is mom to a son born prematurely so she served as a credible spokesperson for text4baby.  To-date, the PSA has reached more than 32 million.
•    A partnership with MTV garnered coverage on 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. The initial airing on “Teen Mom” resulted in nearly 1,500 new subscribers within 24 hours of its debut. 
•    Social media engagement with “mommy bloggers” secured stories on popular sites like, Moms Like Me, The Spohrs are Multiplying, MochaMoms, and Parent Dish, etc., and social media tools like Facebook have engaged more than 1,000 friends and continues to grow. 

Client verdict

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy noted on its blog, “We are hearing stories about moms making prenatal appointments, using their seatbelts more safely, following safe sleep practices, and making other changes to keep themselves and their babies healthy.”  

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