WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon and her husband WWE Executive of Talent, Live Events and Creative Paul “Triple H” Levesque are strong supporters of pediatric cancer care and research at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Stephanie and Paul became involved with Children’s Hospital in 2014, when they met WWE fan Connor Michalek.
Connor, 8, was battling medulloblastoma, a rare tumor that affects the brain and spinal cord. Connor formed a special connection with Stephanie and Paul, as well as numerous WWE Superstars and Divas, while attending WWE events with his family in early 2014, including WWE WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans.
When Connor lost his battle with medulloblastoma in April 2014, Stephanie and Paul decided to honor him by creating Connor’s Cure, a fund within Children’s Foundation at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh that supports brain tumor research.
Connor’s Cure supports research by Ian F. Pollack, M.D., chief, Pediatric Neurosurgery in the Brain Care Institute at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, including laboratory-based research and a vaccine-based immunotherapy research. Dr. Pollack is examining the efficacy of a unique immunotherapy that treats the tumor using a vaccine not entirely unlike the sort of vaccines most of us are familiar with, such as the tetanus or polio vaccines.
The Connor's Cure campaign had two primary objectives:
In order to effectively achieve the campaign objectives, WWE’s strategy was an integrated, 360 degree approach that utilized all of the company’s global assets. These included WWE Network and WWE’s television programming, digital and social platforms, live events, merchandise sales, WWE talent, employee communications and media relations.
WWE assets provided a global platform for Connor’s Cure to deliver key messages regarding pediatric cancer education and resources.
WWE’s execution of this campaign was fully integrated throughout its global assets. Specific campaign tactics included:
WWE created “Connor’s Cure” bracelets in support of Connor’s Cure and Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.
Fans were able to purchase the bracelets at WWEShop.com at all WWE Live Events, with 100% of the proceeds going to support Connor’s Cure.
In September, Connor’s Cure was integrated into WWE flagship programming RAW and SmackDown that air on USA Network and SyFy respectively. In total, WWE has nearly 14 million weekly viewers.
On Monday, September 14 and Thursday, September 17, WWE’s flagship programs Monday Night Raw and SmackDown “Went Gold” in support of Connor’s Cure and Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. “Going Gold” consisted of
WWE Network Integration
Beginning Tuesday, September 1-Wednesday, September 30, WWE Network aired public service announcements featuring WWE Superstars and Divas in support of Connor’s Cure and pediatric cancer awareness month.
WWE Live Event Integration:
Public service announcements were also shown during all 18 live events in the month of September.
WWE Social Media Integration
WWE has more than half a billion social media followers.
For the first time, WWE launched a Twibbon promotion encouraging the WWE Universe to “Go Gold” by changing their Twitter profile pictures gold.
Frequent tweets from WWE Superstars and Divas in support of Connor’s Cure and Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month throughout the month of September.
WWE cross-promoted Connor’s Cure with Ellen Degeneres’s #JustKeepDancing initiative where fans posted videos of themselves dancing to support pediatric cancer awareness. WWE talent who participated in the #JustKeepDancing initiative included:
WWE Digital Media Integration:
Employee Communication Integration
WWE activated this campaign with its more than 800 employees and portfolio of business partners.
In March 2016, WWE and The V Foundation for Cancer Research announced a multi-year partnership to support cancer research nationally through funds raised by Connor’s Cure.
The announcement was made at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where Connor’s Cure was originally established, with representatives from the hospital, WWE and The V Foundation.
The new partnership will expand Connor’s Cure outside of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation and support other top research centers and hospitals nationwide.
As a result of the new partnership, funds raised by WWE will support Connor’s Cure through The V Foundation’s grant-making process. The V Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee, comprised of world-class physicians and research scientists, vets and awards top-rated grant proposals from the nation’s leading medical facilities. In addition, funding will continue to support the research being done at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.
Led by WWE Chief Brand officer Stephanie McMahon, WWE utilized its global assets including WWE Network, TV, Live Events, and digital and social media to raise awareness and funds for Connor’s Cure.
To date, WWE has raised more than $1 million for Connor’s Cure and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. WWE raised more than $200,000 and generated over 1 billion media impressions during Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month this September.
Additional campaign results can be found below:
WWE named Connor Michalek the first-ever recipient of The Warrior Award, presented each year at the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
The Warrior Award is given to someone who has exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance, and who lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of WWE Hall of Famer, The Ultimate Warrior. The award was presented by The Ultimate Warrior’s widow, Dana Warrior, and WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan™ to Steve Michalek, Connor’s father.
The WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony aired live on Saturday, March 28 on WWE Network at 8 p.m. ET. USA Network also broadcasted a one-hour special highlighting the ceremony on Monday, March 30.
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment.
The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms.
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