Leveraging a Celebrity Brand Advocate to Educate Key Audiences and Generate Awareness in Local Markets

According to the National Institutes of Health, in the U.S., 1 in every 3 people over the age of 65 has hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss is connected to increased social isolation and loneliness, balance issues and risk for falls, and there’s emerging evidence associating it with diminished brain health and mental sharpness as well. Through well-planned celebrity brand advocate activations in markets with high percentages of aging adults – activations which were amplified via targeted local media outreach – Cochlear and Linhart PR worked together to ensure more seniors understand the signs of hearing loss, treatment options and the benefits of cochlear implants to help improve hearing health and general wellbeing.

Communications Strategy & Planning
Media Relations & Influencer Marketing
Health & Wellness


Linhart PR was tasked with securing media coverage of brand advocate Lou Ferrigno’s visits to two markets – Orlando, FL and Phoenix, AZ – to connect with and educate aging adults about hearing loss, when to see an audiologist and the benefits of cochlear implants for those who qualify for them based on their hearing loss. Ferrigno, best known for his role as "The Original Incredible Hulk," suffered from under treated hearing loss since childhood before making the decision in his late 60s to receive a cochlear implant, which has greatly improved his quality of life.


Leveraging its longtime local market storytelling experience, Linhart PR developed and executed a multipronged news making strategy for Lou’s Orlando and Phoenix visits:

  • Educate media to, in turn, educate consumers: Linhart PR created media outreach materials that highlighted market-specific aging adult hearing loss statistics and explained the risks of untreated hearing loss on overall health, demonstrating to reporters why informative coverage on the topic within the specific communities was needed.
  • Offer experts: Linhart PR booked interviews that partnered Lou with a local audiologist (hearing health expert). This allowed Lou to share the details of his hearing journey and life-changing cochlear implant experience, while the audiologist tackled technical and medical questions related to hearing loss and solutions.
  • Create events primed for coverage: The Cochlear team planned dynamic events and activations in each market that were full of interview opportunities and visuals for media. In Florida, Lou spoke at a candidate event in an Orlando-area retirement community. In Arizona, a superhero-themed book reading for kids at a Phoenix-based elementary school for children who are deaf or hard of hearing allowed Lou to connect with kids with hearing loss and their parents. For each event, the Linhart PR team invited reporters from local print/online and broadcast outlets to 1) attend; 2) interview Lou, hearing experts and cochlear implant candidates and recipients; and 3) capture heartwarming photos and engaging footage too.
  • Blanket the market: In an effort to reach as many people as possible in each event market, the team posted details to local event calendars to increase visibility and drive attendance; hosted media days dedicated specifically to interviews with Lou and the expert audiologist; and aimed to secure various types of coverage, including in-studio broadcast segments, online Q&As, and radio and podcast interviews.


Linhart PR helped increase the business impact of these visits in each state. The team:

  • Secured 15 local media placements – including a nationally syndicated piece to Yahoo! – generating a grand total of 78+ million earned media impressions and high levels of awareness of the importance of treating hearing loss, and how to treat it, across both event locations.
  • Exceeded client expectations across the board!

Lou Ferrigno is a paid brand advocate for Cochlear; however, medical treatment and health decisions were made independently by him and his hearing health provider.

The Incredible Hulk is a trademark of Marvel Characters, Inc.

Please seek advice from your health professional, outcomes may vary. Not all products are available in all countries. Consult your health professional to determine if you are a candidate for Cochlear technology. Views expressed are those of the individual.

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