Influenza vaccination

Task: Stop the declining trend of Influenza vaccination in Hungary.

Challenge: The influenza vaccination coverage rate (7% vs. 42% in the US in 2014) is extremely low and has been declining in the past 4 years. Research showed, that the public beleived that simply by „paying attention” one can prevent getting the flu.

Solution: In order to maximize impact we have decided to:
1. attack the general misbelief that it is enough to „pay attention not to get the flu”
2. target young parents (who have small kids) with extra activities, as they seemed the most receptive target audience

The main public places where flu can be transmitted are public transportation and malls (in the Christmas season). We have to educate the public and especially the families with young children, that viruses are everywhere – not only in the air (because people think that they can protect themselves from droplets in the air) but also on the surface of objects (i.e. handhelds and rails on busses) which we cannot avoid touching.

  • Public transport is the most popular transportation in Hungary, especially in cities and during the cold season. Viruses are everywhere on the buses, it is impossible to defend ourselves by “paying attention”.
  • Malls: young families can be reached very effectively in malls in the Christmas season, they usually visit the indoor playgrounds – where the viruses are omnipresent.
  • The campaign included several activities: press briefings, direct consumer communication in playhouses in malls during the Christmas season and a non-traditional press event. We partnered with the National Public Health authority and at the beginning of November, we rented a normal, city bus for the event. But asked our staff to “prepare” it by imitating travel and naturally touching the surface of the interior of the bus with their hands – that previously was covered in UV paint invisible at natural light. So after the preparation the bus looked the same in natural light: a normal city bus, that operates on the streets of Budapest. We invited journalist for a press conference and a “press ride” on board this very bus. We planned the itinerary of the bus so that at a certain point of the press conference the bus would enter the capital’s largest tunnel – and then the UV paint becomes visible! When the bus entered the tunnel, the lights went off and the palm prints became suddenly visible. (It caused an audible uproar amongst the participants.) This could illustrate our message that it is not possible to “pay attention” the flu viruses are everywhere; the only viable precaution is the vaccination.

Results: 

  • Total reach of the PR campaign: 32 million (Total Hungarian population: 9.8 million)
  • All Hungarian nationwide TV channels covered the story (in most cases minimum twice!)
  • All major national print and online media with the highest reach covered the story
  • The approx. total of 120 media appearances all had a positive tone of voice
  • The biggest radio station (Class FM) broadcast the news (reach 2,5 people – 25% of Hungarian population)
  • Other radio stations (with total reach of 4 million citizens – 40% of Hungary) alsooffered the story
  • News programs of the largest Hungarian commercial TV station (RTL Klub) and the national TV channel with the greatest country coverage (MTVA) continued to use footage during the whole season when they ran reports about the flu epidemic of this year.
  • We reached a total of 58,500 families with small children in playgrounds around the country (which is approx. 10% of families)

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