Baby Dominique's case was so unique and truly based on the success of the surgery, so our main goal, once we learned of the tremendous outcome and that Dominique was in good health, was to build brand awareness and to share this inspiring story with everyone and anyone. With a social first mentality, we wanted to tell the story on social media and for news outlets to use our footage and story to tell theirs on television and through their social channels. While we did not have specific numbers in mind, we specifically had the goal to have our video featured on viral social sites, including BuzzFeed, NowThis and more.
Baby Dominique, now 15 months old, was born with a parasitic conjoined twin. The bottom half of her twin's not-fully-developed body – including waist, legs and feet – protruded from Dominique's neck and back... until her risky but successful surgery in March of 2017. A parasitic twin ceases to develop during gestation and, in this case, failed to separate from Dominique's body. Because they were conjoined at the spine, the separation surgery – performed at Advocate Children's Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. – proved extremely complex.
But the surgery, performed by five surgeons and involving a team of over 50 clinicians, was necessary to give Dominique the chance to live a long and normal life. Without separation, Dominique's little heart and lungs would continue functioning for two people and thus, shorten her lifespan.
Dominique traveled to the U.S., from the Ivory Coast of Africa, with support from an Ohio-based charity organization. She returned to her birth family two months after the surgery.
When we first heard of Dominique's story, we delicately developed a plan to share her story with the world through social and news media. Our strategy was based on the comfortability of our care team, but also of Dominique's foster family and her family in Africa.
With the approval and input of all parties, our team:
- Shot footage and captured photos throughout Dominique's journey at Advocate Children's Hospital.
- Edited the video with direction from our social media team.
- Ensured the video was short, sharing key points and visual, emotional footage, and our social team also had the requirement that we include captions. We also made sure that the final product mirrored videos shared on popular viral social media sites. We wanted to make sure viewers could understand the story easily and view without sound by utilizing subtitles.
- Broadcasted the March 21 press conference through a Facebook Live feed.
- Linked our media and social pitches to our completed video on Advocate Children's Hospital's Facebook page.
The video received immediate traction from our own social media base, but local and national outlets used our social video and shared it on their own social channels and used the footage in their TV coverage. The social media team pitched all viral social channels through contacts on their websites and right through Facebook messenger.
Baby Dominique's story was seen across the globe, igniting positive conversations across social media. We received more than 9 million views across our owned social channels, media outlets, viral social sites and national/global social channels with tens of thousands of comments and reactions.
All local Chicago news channels covered the story on TV and on social media. And it also received national and global coverage on social and TV, from all news affiliates from FOX, ABC, NBC, ABC and more, but also on social pages of news organizations like People magazine, the Daily Mail, CNN, Huffington Post and more. The story was natively shared in video and article format on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
Our goal of getting our video placed on NowThis and BuzzFeed was not only reached, but we also had successful pitches to many other viral social outlets including: AJ+, IFL Science, Little Things, SBS News, Live Science, Circa, Vocativ and more! Dominique's story resulted in the most views of any video and story we have shared on social media. The story also received more than $7 million in earned media. We have now replicated this process for other stories and videos.
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