Healthcare: Seven Seas puts joints back in place

Despite millions of people suffering with joint problems, Seven Seas believes consumers are apathetic towards the issue and most do not take preventative steps to protect their joints.

Seven Seas: puts joints back in place
Seven Seas: puts joints back in place

Journalists have steered clear of reporting on joint health, dismissing it as an 'old people's problem' that ages their publication. In addition, a British Medical Journal review in September 2010 found that glucosamine, an active ingredient in many joint-care supplements, was not effective enough to encourage GPs to prescribe them. This further diminished media interest.

As a result, global brand Seven Seas hired Virgo Health to create a UK campaign to relaunch its Jointcare range.

Campaign Seven seas Joint Health of the Nation

Client Seven Seas

PR team Virgo Consumer Health

Timescale November 2010-March 2011

Budget £100,000


  •  To highlight the problem of neglecting joint health and its consequences if not addressed
  •  To rebuild confidence in Seven Seas Jointcare supplements
  •  To drive traffic to Seven Seas' website for its joint age calculator
  • To gain coverage in high circulation national, specialist and trade media.

Strategy and plan

Virgo collated data from more than 13,000 users of the joint age calculator - a 12-week challenge designed to help reduce a person's 'true' joint age - and boosted it with existing information on joint health and surveys among consumers, osteopaths, physiotherapists and GPs.

Virgo used the information to create a report called Joint Health of the Nation and a series of stories, using both hard-hitting and lighthearted news angles. To boost the campaign's credibility, Virgo arranged for a group of medical experts to give interviews to the media, including Dr Rosemary Leonard and celebrity personal trainer Matt Roberts.

The Rugby Six Nations tournament also provided a good hook to introduce former Scottish star Kenny Logan as a brand ambassador for the campaign launch.

Logan, who suffers from joint problems himself, took part in a webcast, a radio day and video to increase media coverage.

Measurements and evaluation

Virgo secured more than 100 pieces of media coverage, with 52 per cent appearing in national newspapers and consumer publications. Coverage appeared in national newspapers including the Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Express, the Daily Mirror, The Independent and i. It also featured in Woman's Own, Chat, Zest and Men's Health magazines, as well as online and in trade and regional media.


On the day of the campaign launch, the joint age calculator received more than 680 unique visitors and a 770 per cent increase in direct traffic to the website.

Initial IRI data showed that in the week following the PR campaign, the brand had its highest market share of the previous 18 months. The campaign generated extensive consumer and retailer enquiries, including requests to use the data and report findings as part of pharmacy point-of-sale materials.


Louise Collins, Head of healthcare, Ruder Finn UK

This was a great example of producing impressive results on a medium-sized budget. The PR team demonstrated great use of existing assets for maximum ROI - a challenge that now features in every client brief.

The use of Kenny Logan and the Rugby Six Nations was inspired and provided a much-needed sexiness to what is otherwise perceived as an old person's condition.

It also provided direct access to a different media and audience, which was valuable in trying to address that consumer apathy.

A great job was done in driving people to the site, but I think the agency could have made greater use of digital, as the content would have lent itself well to this platform. For example, could the agency have offered some insights into how the joint age calculator could have worked harder in terms of customer engagement once they got there?

Also, the report name, Joint Health of the Nation, is uninspiring and not as clever as the campaign itself. But overall it was a great piece of work.

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