Social media to take lead role in NHS 111 PR campaign with Dom Joly

The NHS has teamed up with media company Spirit to create a video campaign starring TV prankster Dom Joly, to raise awareness of when to use its 24-hour NHS 111 helpline.

The video for the campaign, called 'Not QUITE an emergency', was produced and directed by Spirit for the NHS Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group. It is the second campaign for the NHS that Spirit has created.

The video, which is shot in Brighton, shows a disguised Joly seeking support from unsuspecting members of the public for various minor ailments, before pretend paramedics arrive on the scene. 

Research carried out for the NHS 111 programme last year found just 12 per cent of adults are aware of the helpline, with particularly low levels of awareness among under-35s, which is the target audience for the campaign.

Consumer PR around the campaign will run until March 2016 and is being managed by Spirit head of PR Rachael Newton alongside Martha Robinson, head of comms at NHS Brighton and Hove CCG. 

As well as promoting the campaign on Twitter and Facebook, the video is being shared across GP practice websites and other NHS sites. 

Robinson told PRWeek: "Our 'not QUITE an emergency’ PR campaign has been designed to capture the interest of journalists, the public and providers of NHS services across Sussex and beyond. 

"Faced with a limited budget, widespread advertising for the NHS 111 helpline this winter was out of the question - plus we needed something that would challenge and change behaviour, not just promote a service. Our PR approach therefore relies heavily on media coverage and social media engagement to reach the people we know have the lowest awareness of 111 and are most likely to visit local A&E departments with non-emergency conditions."

Matt Campion, creative director at Spirit, added: "Our campaign brief was to deliver a serious message for the NHS to a predominantly youth audience at a critical time of year for the emergency services.

"So we had to create something that people would talk about and share organically, which is why we teamed up with the UK’s number one prankster Dom Joly to hit the streets of Sussex and cause some mischief."

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