The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project
From the 12th Annual Shorty Awards

University of Kentucky HealthCare - We Are Proof

Winner in Pharma & Healthcare


When defining our objective for the University of Kentucky HealthCare’s 2019 campaign, we brought to life the obvious - very few people want to engage with a hospital or health care brand unless they have an immediate need. After all, why would you? It’s scary, it’s complex and not something you really want to be thinking about. UK HealthCare and Cornett sought out to change that perception of thinking and in a unique way.

In order to grab the attention of what the brand calls a “some day” audience – they’ll need us some day -- we aimed share UK HealthCare’s narrative-driven brand video, then influence the Facebook algorithm with influencer infusion, and earn viral engagement from social shares.

The influencer engagements were then used to engage and inspire our audience to provide their own stories of how UK HealthCare impacted them to amplify the campaign theme.

Strategy and Execution

UK HealthCare’s emotionally-driven short film titled “We Are Proof” featured relatable stories with real proof of UK HealthCare’s impact on the community. But launching this creative asset on social media alone presented an interesting challenge: Who wants to watch a 2-minute video about a healthcare system? And how can we use such a film to inspire user-generated content to fuel future campaign executions and content?

Our strategy was to “hack the algorithm” on Facebook, build a groundswell of enthusiasm that people wanted to participate in and produce viral lift to over-perform assumed flat outcomes. Our driving insight was that Facebook favors video content that receives high rates of engagement (views, likes, comments and shares) within the first few hours of its launch. We then carefully orchestrated timing of influential people engaging with the content to fuel social activity around the film. 

Leveraging 43 select local influencers ranging from sports celebrities and fitness influencers to fashion bloggers and elected officials, we asked each to comment on the brand’s video, then share it with their Facebook and Instagram audiences. In doing so, we asked them to share their personal UK HealthCare story, encouraging their audience to do the same. 

The successful launch and viral participation then fueled an outpouring of individual stories sharing UK HealthCare’s impact on participant’s lives. Individuals shared their own content and testimonials, which the brand then leveraged to build the website content around the “We Are Proof” campaign.  The stories from individuals in the Lexington, Ky., and surrounding areas, ranged from experiences with having a heart attack or dealing with chronic illness, to undergoing rehabilitation treatment at UK HealthCare.

The stories from users, coupled with brand-solicited ones from doctors, nurses, researchers and staff, populated a campaign microsite for the “We Are Proof” campaign. The site lives on as an inspirational story gathering and sharing resource for the community and has emerged as an attractive platform for search engine traffic seeking healthcare resources.


Some 40,000 people watched the “We Are Proof” video in the first six-hours it was live. Within 24 hours, the count was over 150,000. It hit 500,000 in two weeks. After one month, over 800,000. The film exceeded the brand’s average post reach by 1,026%, post engagements by 973%, and video views by 99,758%.

At this writing, 835,00 people have viewed the film. The day it launched, the healthcare brand behind it had a Facebook following of only 16,000 and served a city with a population of around 320,000. Nearly three times as many people who live in the city it serves watched a 2-minute film about a healthcare brand.

The video successfully launched a movement around patient stories that has shown sustainable lift beyond the launch. From June 1 to December 31, 2019, the We Are Proof website received 38,493 visitors. An incredible 78% of these visits came from social media channels, illustrating the campaign created true virality. The home page accounts for just 7% of the site’s page views, showing visitors entered the site on individual stories shared on social networks. To date, the stories continue to grow and add content for UK HealthCare.

Results from the campaign go further than the numbers. The stories told helped foster an approachable healthcare culture with the community. The We are Proof campaign accomplished the goal of finding a unique way to drive social engagement for the brand and illustrate the impact UK HealthCare has on Lexington, Ky., and beyond.


Video for University of Kentucky HealthCare - We Are Proof

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Cornett, University of Kentucky HealthCare


Entry Credits