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Remember my name? Fame! Driving outcomes through traditional media

by Ed Grunill

We’ve all been there. The client meeting. Ready to hammer out a detailed channel plan to meet your audience where they are. Ready to dive deep into target audiences, SOV and KPIs.

To break the ice you ask, “What does campaign success look like to you?” and the CEO responds…“Can you get me on the sofa of BBC Breakfast?”

The glamour of the press continues to set the hearts of clients a-flutter. No matter the campaign, securing high-profile media coverage is sure to delight. But beyond a nice opportunity for a senior stakeholder, or an impactful entry to the next board report, traditional media is a crucial component of an integrated communications campaign. It can drive measurable outcomes.

We’ve seen this power first-hand in a recent campaign for ZPB’s client Preventx and their partners NHS England. The aim of the project was to promote the launch of a new national testing service for hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is an infectious disease, which can lead to cancer if not diagnosed and treated. The NHS has made fantastic progress in finding and treating people with hepatitis C, but more is needed to achieve NHS England’s hepatitis C elimination goal. The new service is a vital tool, bringing testing into people’s homes and reducing the reliance on GPs, charities and drug and alcohol services to run the last mile of the race.

Our work for Preventx has been multi-channel and multi-tactic. We’ve worked closely with charities, healthcare professionals and community leaders, directly reaching out to communities to make them aware of the service. We’ve launched digital campaigns targeting those at risk. We’ve created and distributed tested materials in partnership with the NHS.

The biggest driver of usage, however, has been traditional media relations. We’ve had patients and experts talking through testing on the television. We’ve grabbed national headlines with data stories about lesser-known routes to transmission. We’ve busted myths about hepatitis C across breakfast radio.

Why has the media been so effective?

The biggest barrier to usage of the testing service is a lack of understanding. We conducted a general population survey in the UK and found that over 60% of respondents had little to no knowledge about hepatitis C and its transmission. This lack of awareness meant that even those at risk were not likely to order a test.

Traditional media has been crucial in breaking through this barrier. Television appearances by patients sharing their stories have been particularly powerful. Seeing real people discussing their experience with hepatitis C not only humanises the issue but also educates the audience about the importance of testing and early intervention.

We’ve also been able to use longer-form interviews to get into the detail of the virus and make clear the risks people need to be aware of.

Securing national headlines with data-driven stories has also helped to raise awareness on a larger scale. By highlighting lesser-known routes of transmission, such as sharing needles during tattooing or piercings, we've been able to capture the attention of a wider audience. These headlines spark conversations and encourage individuals to learn more about the risks associated with hepatitis C.

The impact of this work has been significant. Not only have we seen an increase in awareness and understanding of hepatitis C, but we've also observed a tangible shift in behaviour. More individuals are seeking testing. And ultimately that is leading people to find out they had a virus that would have otherwise gone undetected.

This is just one example. When well deployed, media relations can change perceptions, reach a new and broad audience and establish trust and credibility. To quote Jean-Louis Gassée: “Advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you are good.”

For more information about ZPB Associates’ media relations work, contact:


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