Public Health England – marketing plan and youth

Public Health England have published their Marketing Plan 2013-14 which includes a section on youth.  The plan acknowledges that teenagers face a number of pressures and that it’s a time when many choose to smoke, drink, take drugs and have sex for the first time.  In response they say:

Our overall marketing objective is to catalyse positive conversations about health between peers and between parents and their children.

They also tell us that their marketing messages will be focused on 11 to 16 year olds on the understanding that once risky behaviours start marketing interventions are much less likely to succeed.

They say that in contrast with previous marketing strategies they will be:

  • adopting an audience first approach rather than a focus on individual issues
  • using a conversation based campaign
  • focusing on social media and partnership work as a cost-effective way of communicating with the audience.

What is refreshing is they say they will:

Take an evidence-based approach to prevention: Previous activity with this audience that has focused on raising awareness and changing behavioural intention has not worked… We have revisited a wealth of past campaign activity, academic and behaviour change theory to move our approach on. Our new marketing approach is built on the strong evidence base that increasing conversations across these topics = better, healthier choices. Schools and commercial, media and public sector partners are essential to the strategy. We will work with partners to create content, provide branded experiences for our audience and distribute information and tools.

They say they’re going to move away from government ‘owned’ brands rather relying on kitemarks or tags that will be common across what they see the best content available whoever is the creator.

One of the projects they want to build on is the Awkward Conversation’s pilot, something I’d not seen before, but I think is this Youtube Channel. The video below is an example and has clocked up over 210,000 views in the last six months and is made by someone with over 298,000 subscribers to her own channel.

The 4:01 show, which we’ve covered here is also going to be continued and built on, including piloting a game to increase resilience skills, an online Q&A forum, a brief for schools on raising tricky questions, and a parenting product for parents of 11-14 year olds who may be taking risks.

The exception to this rule of addressing audience rather than issue seems to be FRANK, which will be retained. They say the intention across 2013 is to:

Improve the FRANK service by using social listening to inform the content (e.g. new legal high terminology etc). We will also further develop interactive content and more extensive content for alcohol, tobacco, legal highs and parents.Build a range of partnerships with credible digital platforms to deliver accurate health information.

The overall budget for all this work will be about £2.2 million including evaluation which be:

assessed by their overall uptake, the quantity and quality of conversations. A longitudinal study will assess the impact on knowledge levels and behaviour. The programme as a whole will be assessed by the impact on a baseline level of conversation.


3 thoughts on “Public Health England – marketing plan and youth

  1. Hi – interesting post – we’ve worked in schools showing kids how they will look in 10 years’ time if they drink excessively or smoke with our apps – showing them how their looks may change seems to have a real impact. We’re now working on fast food. See Drinking Time Machine, Smoking Time Machine and Drinking Mirror (now over 480,000 downloads).

  2. Pingback: Can mass media campaigns prevent young people from using drugs? | Mentor Thinks

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