Case study: BEIS explains shared leave opportunity to parents and garners 150k hits to website

A campaign by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Government Equalities Office has sparked almost 150,000 website visits over a two-month period.

The "Share the joy" push was intended to raise awareness of the Shared Parental Leave (SPL) allowance, which gives parents the right to split leave allowances and statutory parental pay.

It employed PR, social media and advertising to inspire a conversation between parents about how it would work and to encourage them to visit a dedicated website to find out more.

Steve Warren, chief campaigns officer at BEIS, said: "So far we have driven almost 150,000 visits to the website. When you compare this with the fact that there are about 285,000 couples eligible for shared parental leave a year, we feel this is a fantastic achievement when so little has been previously publicised about SPL."

The campaign launched on 12 February, after a survey was conducted to establish a baseline of awareness and understanding of the policy. A post-campaign survey will be conducted later this year to gauge the work’s impact.

The target audience was people either expecting or adopting a baby, or with a baby younger than one year old. Data showed that eligible parents tended to be aged 24-44, urban dwellers, middle-class professionals with high online consumption.

Research also led BEIS to focus the campaign on the emotional and social benefits of sharing childcare. Video ads captured new parents interacting with their babies, alternating father and mother in the same footage.

Advertising was backed up with informative PR work, thanks to BEIS’ in-house team earning coverage in a range of media outlets, from the National Childbirth Trust’s magazine to Real Business, Grazia and the Daily Mirror.

The reach of the campaign was extended with advertorial pieces in free magazines Stylist and Shortlist and partnerships with parenting blogs.

On the owned media side, the campaign website featured case studies of three couples talking about their experiences of taking SPL. These include two men who adopted a child together, who feature in a video that BEIS produced in partnership with the University of Manchester.

Warren added: "This was an exciting, but challenging, campaign to work on. We had to challenge gender stereotypes and try to change attitudes and entrenched cultural norms in the home and workplace.

"The Government’s aim is to give women greater choice in how they balance childcare responsibilities with the opportunity of developing their career at work. SPL is a key lever in achieving this and in turn supports efforts to reduce the gender pay gap. I believe our campaign has kickstarted a national conversation, one that I hope will go some way in effecting real change in the future."


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