image from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius YouTube video announcing PSA contest

HHS 'Viral Marketing' Creates a Little Buzz

The prospect of winning $2,500 and national TV exposure for a 15- or 30-second flu video in the HHS contest enticed 20 entries in its first two weeks.

"All Americans share in the responsibility to be prepared," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says in the HHS video on YouTube that announces a contest to create the agency's 2009 flu awareness PSA video. Video entries are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT Aug. 17; in the first two weeks after HHS announced the contest on July 9, 20 entries were submitted.

The winning entry will receive $2,500 cash, and that 15- or 30-second video will be shown on national TV. "I'm excited to announce a new video contest from HHS that will tap into our nation's creativity," the secretary says in the video. "I'm not talking about another boring, educational video. This is your chance to be funny, dramatic, or whatever you think will make the most positive impact."

Entries should be posted to YouTube as a video response to Sebelius' call for contest entries. Contestants must have a YouTube account in order to do this (a YouTube help page is provided) and must fill out and submit an online form. Rules, information on preventing flu infection, and a contest entry form are available here. The main HHS flu page is www.flu.gov.

The latest CDC update on the H1N1 flu was posted July 17 and covered reported cases during the week that ended July 11. It showed a total of 40,617 cases and 263 deaths nationwide. Wisconsin (6,031), Texas (4,975), Illinois (3,357), California (3,161), and New York (2,670) were the five states with the largest number of cases.

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