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Not Just the Flu: Public Health England Campaign Explodes 'Harmless Virus' Myths 

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Campaign developed in partnership with M&C Saatchi, Wavemaker, Manning Gottlieb OMD, freuds, 23red MMC, and BDS Communications will support the ambition for 30 million people to get the free flu vaccine this year

Not Just the Flu: Public Health England Campaign Explodes 'Harmless Virus' Myths 

On 26th October, Public Health England, in partnership with NHS England and NHS IMPROVEMENT, launch a significant new phase in their major national marketing campaign to support the ambitious flu vaccination programme.  The bold, reinvigorated campaign warns of the potential dangers of flu, encouraging all eligible groups to get a free flu vaccine to protect themselves. The campaign, which has been running in targeted channels since 5th October, enters a new phase on 26th October, with a broader approach to reach all those eligible for the free flu vaccination and upweighted advertising on TV, radio, OOH and digital channels to remind people not to dismiss the virus as ‘just the flu’.

The campaign was created in partnership with creative agency M&C Saatchi, with media planning by Wavemaker, media buying by Manning Gottlieb OMD, PR by freuds and partnerships by 23Red. Specialist communications will be provided by Multicultural Marketing Consultancy (MMC) and BDS Communications, across BAME and disability audiences respectively.

The flu vaccination campaign is part of the award-winning 'Help Us, Help You' campaign brand. New hard-hitting creative drives home the importance of getting the flu vaccine by dramatising the risks of the flu, and positioning the vaccine as the best protection. The approach creates empathy with the audience by reflecting a common refrain at this time of year, that ‘it’s just the flu’. A series of TV spots, directed by No Brain at Madcow, unpack the true, killer consequences of complications caused by flu and finishing with a simple message to “Just get your jab”. The audience are driven to reappraise their understanding of flu, learning that the virus kills on average 11,000 people in England each year and hospitalises tens of thousands more. The calm, compassionate voice of the NHS provides an unequivocal prompt to take action, whilst reassuring that the NHS is here to see you safely. 

The campaign uses a combination of broadcast and precision digital channels to ensure that it simultaneously speaks to both large swathes of the eligible population, and t121 communications in different environments, allows us to specifically call out eligible audiences and entreat them to get their vaccine. Bespoke adverts on TV, video on demand, social, OOH and digital activity targets vulnerable audiences including pregnant women and those with long-term health conditions with tailored messages.

A coalition of partners has been engaged to deliver scale and impact, extending reach through high impact outdoor media partnerships as well as at a community level, using trusted voices to reach and engage the eligible audience to change intention (via healthcare settings, charity and community groups, childcare providers, pregnancy clubs and employers).

This year’s campaign has been planned to be highly flexible. Vaccine uptake amongst different target groups will be monitored throughout the duration of the campaign and the media plan will be amended to upweight media targeted at audiences, or in regions, where uptake is low.

Alexia Clifford, director of marketing at Public Health England, comments: “With the simultaneous risk of catching flu and COVID-19 this winter, this major national campaign has a more important job than ever to encourage those who are eligible to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones. The campaign has been designed to support the ambitious national flu vaccination programme, and to reach a newly expanded set of audiences, some of whom we haven’t communicated with through marketing activities before.”

Phil Bastable, head of campaigns and social media at NHS England and NHS Improvement, comments: “We’re pulling out all the stops to prepare for a uniquely challenging winter, and the new ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign will be paramount to helping us communicate how the public can best look after their health throughout the season. The ‘Just the flu’ creative is an important part of this, and will reassure eligible groups that, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, it is safe to go and get your flu vaccine, and the very best protection against flu this winter.”

Camilla Kemp, chief executive officer, M&C Saatchi, added: “‘Just the flu’ is a phrase people use every year, to play down the severity of seasonal flu. But it’s a dangerous piece of language that ignores the true risks of this potentially deadly virus. The simple messages at the heart of this hard-hitting campaign are necessary, against a backdrop of Covid-19, to ensure the vaccination programme reaches more people than ever before.”

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Genres: Dialogue, People

Categories: Health care, Beauty & Health

M&C Saatchi London, Wed, 28 Oct 2020 15:04:25 GMT