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Special Project

Special Project
From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

Abbott - Rising to the Test

Entered in Real Time Response


Until last year, nothing that had gone viral had been about something literally viral. But when this global pandemic surfaced, the best thing we could do to help combat it was to first leverage our expertise to quickly develop quality COVID-19 tests, and then help reliable information about them go, well, exactly that…viral.

Our objective was to raise awareness. Not just about the COVID-19 tests our scientists were developing in record time, but also a push for broader awareness—as a leader in diagnostics— to help educate the public on the utility of testing, the different types of tests that exist, how they each work, and the best way they could be applied to keep communities healthier in our new shared reality.

Strategy and Execution

An unconventional year called for an unconventional approach. Because we were bringing a variety of tests to market on an accelerated timeline, we committed to whatever was necessary to be fast and flexible in our content marketing and social media approach—not something the healthcare industry is typically known for.

All of our COVID-19 social and digital activations are founded on the human insights we learned through social listening and engagement with us: fear of the virus, desire to know what to do and how to stay safe, confusion due to large amounts of misinformation circulating about SARS-CoV-2 and testing in general. Abbott had unparalleled authority and opportunity to answer the call.

Our strategy was to highlight both of the ways we could accomplish that:

  1. Storytelling that focused on the “what” = development of the tests themselves that provide critical answers
  2. Storytelling that focused on the “how” = providing answers about how the tests provide answers

So we got to work on democratizing the information we were uniquely positioned to share. In order to achieve the best storytelling, we immersed ourselves in the diagnostics R&D team. The situation was moving quickly, and so were we.

We leveraged a task force of our diagnostic experts to explain the differences in molecular, rapid antigen, and serology tests—adapting quickly to Zoom interviews. We created infographics to convey complicated information, like how the different tests can be used in various settings and stages of infection, in a simple way. As the content sparked engagement, we relied on social listening to inform the kind of content that would be most helpful to create next. And we jumped on opportunities to engage with influencers to generate additional earned impressions. All in a consumer-friendly way. At the speed of a pandemic.


Our scientists worked around the clock on the tests, and we worked around the clock on the content, with social media activation leading the charge. We published 381 social posts, 25 stories, 17 videos, and 6 infographics. But it’s about quality, not quantity, right? Our content marketing efforts resulted in:

For context:

Not only were these some of the best results we’ve ever achieved for a social campaign. It was some of the best results in the industry:

We even had a chat with Elon Musk and Jim Cramer on Twitter.

But it’s not about those numbers or anecdotes. It’s not about us at all, actually. It’s about rising to the ultimate test, and delivering exactly what the world needed, how and when it needed it.


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