Campaign: Swine flu communications strategy
Client: The UK Department of Health
WPP company: MEC London
In 2008, MEC London was commissioned to develop a communications strategy as part of the response to a potential flu pandemic in the UK. A year later, the World Health Organization announced that a swine flu outbreak originating in Mexico had become a pandemic. MEC’s strategy was put into action.
Throughout the pandemic, MEC gave the Department of Health advice on communications and developed communication plans for key campaigns. These included the ‘Catch It, Bin It, Kill It’ campaign, encouraging people to adopt good hygiene to limit the spread of swine flu, and a campaign to raise awareness of a national phone line and website which provided advice and enabled people to get anti-viral drugs. MEC also developed a communications plan to encourage ‘at risk’ people, such as healthcare workers and pregnant women to get vaccinated.
The severity of the situation, as well as the constant need for new communications working across multiple channels within tight deadlines, meant that the strategy was tested to its limit. Key messages were communicated to the right audiences in the right way which ensured public concern remained relatively low.