Spit Spreads Death


On September 28, 1918, over 200,000 people attended the Fourth Liberty Loan Parade in Philadelphia to support the American efforts in World War I. Over the next 6 weeks, 12,000 Philadelphians died due to the “Spanish” Flu pandemic. One hundred and one years later, the Mütter Museum partnered with Blast Theory, a UK artist group, to host a parade through the city that would serve as a memorial to those who were lost. They engaged our team at Slice Communications for a strategy around social media and email marketing for both the parade and the forthcoming exhibition. 


For social media, our efforts were split between organic social posting and paid social media advertising. For our organic efforts, we developed content that provided context about the parade, its historical routes, and showcased some of the behind-the-scenes moments. Additionally, we created and promoted a Facebook Event in order to track interest on Facebook, where we achieved over 482 people indicating their interest. 

In advance of the parade, our team attended several events that were focused around the overall exhibition. By attending these events, our team was able to post live coverage and gather additional content that could be repurposed later. These events included an interactive talk at a cemetery about the Spanish flu, a presentation on the exhibition at a local bar, and even a workshop to make lanterns for the parade.

Our social advertising efforts focused on targeting different locations and interests in order to attract potential attendees. In regards to locations, we focused efforts on the Philadelphia area, with additional targeting towards several zip codes that were historically more impacted by the Spanish flu outbreak. For interests, our targeting focused on people interested in the healthcare industry or arts and culture, as they would be the most likely to attend the event.    

For email marketing, our efforts focused on both inviting current Mütter Museum subscribers to join the parade and following up with anyone who subscribed to the email list. Our invitations to the parade focused around informing people about why we were doing it, with a call to action to learn more. Once they subscribed to the list, they were provided with the social channels to stay in the loop, and encouraged to share it with friends. Later, this email was updated to incorporate other information, such as selecting someone to honor when walking and detailed event logistics.

Our team also attended the parade in order to gather content and engage in real time. While walking in the parade, we used Twitter for social listening purposes and were able to interact with users who saw the spectacle but were unsure of its purpose. We also amplified user-generated content from people attending the event by resharing those photos and videos from the Mütter’s account. Additionally, we used live Instagram Stories to provide a view from inside of the parade itself.


As evidenced by the coverage from the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Parade was a success. Over 400 people attended the parade and joined the march to honor those who were lost. On social media, there were over 755,395 organic impressions, primarily driven by Instagram, and an additional 198,961 paid impressions, primarily driven by Facebook. There were a total of 20,110 engagements from organic social posts and 2,972 link clicks from ads. For email, we were able to grow the list by almost 600 people and keep them engaged, with a 77% open rate and 39% click through rate for the followup email. Future emails also maintained an average 10% click through rate, showing continued interest in the parade.

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