NHS Hull has commissioned an innovative promotional campaign aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of measles and how to protect children from the disease.
The 'Keep Measles Out of Hull!' campaign has been commissioned by NHS Hull, and is delivered by Hull-based communications agency T Media with the support of staff and pupils at schools throughout Hull.
Central to the campaign is the production and online promotion of a series of humorous videos featuring pupils from St Nicholas Primary School, Spring Cottage Primary School and Highlands Primary School.
The campaign is the first time that NHS Hull has used online social networks as the main media for a localised health promotion campaign. Many school age children may not have been vaccinated against measles because of worries or fears about between the MMR vaccine and autism in 1998 – a claim that has now been completely discredited. Keep Measles Out of Hull! Aims to reach children, parents and carers of children who haven’t been vaccinated, and therefore remain unprotected and at risk of catching measles.
The videos will be promoted via traditional offline media, though primarily through social media sites such as YouTube and facebook. This media was selected because mums of young children are the UK’s largest user group on Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site.
The videos serve as a reminder to parents and carers to check if their child is fully vaccinated, and if not, to make an appointment for their unprotected children to receive the MMR vaccine.
The videos feature messages from children about the effects of measles and how to get vaccinated against the disease. Humorous features within the videos include children impersonating measles, ongoing mispronunciations of medical terms, as well as colourful creations of measles cartoon characters.
By working with local schools the campaign has engaged with children, and will then be used to engage with parents and carers as the campaign progresses.
Kathleen Young, Nurse Consultant for NHS Hull said:
“Many people underestimate the severity of measles. The dangers are very real, as was demonstrated by the outbreak in Wales and the North West which recently saw many children become quite ill. To date over thirty people have had to go to hospital in the past month alone.
“We need to help parents and carers of children in Hull understand the risk of not protecting their children against measles, as well as get the message across that no child is too old to be immunised. All children deserve, and have a right to, this free protection.”
John Gilbert, Marketing Director of T Media who were commissioned by NHS Hull to deliver the campaign said: “Although we are dealing with a serious health risk, there have been a lot of positives in working on this campaign already. The schools have been very helpful and the children have been creative and full of energy.”
“The videos don’t use scare tactics. That approach wouldn’t work in this case. We wanted the videos to be make you smile as well as think; this helps with the viral aspect of the campaign. As we’ve seen some of these kids have definitely got star quality.”
NHS Hull are working with T Media and other organisations to develop approaches whereby comedy can be used to appeal to certain members of the community and communicate serious health messages in an effective way.
The videos and more information about the campaign can be found at the main website www.keepmeaslesoutofhull.co.uk,
YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/keepmeaslesoutofhull,
and the Facebook page at www.keepmeaslesoutofhull.co.uk/facebook
NHS Hull will be monitoring the impact that this campaign has on the number of children being vaccinated against measles when compared to previous years.