Eight public sector campaigns we liked in 2018

PRWeek rewinds 2018 to select eight of its favourite public sector campaigns of the year.

Every Lesson Shapes A Life 

PRWeek’s stand out favourite public sector campaign of the year is a teacher recruitment film for the Department for Education. The film follows Abbie through her school journey, from a shy child on her first day at reception through to a confident teenager on her last day.

The campaign makes heroes out of teachers and deftly explains how their work helps children fulfil their potential.

Small Talk Saves Lives   

The second iteration of a collaboration between Network Rail, The Samaritans and British Transport Police, uses the British obsession of talking about the weather as an ice-breaker to give people the tools to intervene if they see somebody in distress.

What makes the campaign great is that it taps into the national psyche and turns the public into potential life-savers.

Breck’s Last Game

A chilling collaboration between four police forces, Breck’s Last Game is a campaign film designed to warn teenagers about the risks and dangers of meeting up with online friends in the real world, telling the real-life story of 14-year old Breck Bednar, and featuring the voice of his killer in a 999 call to the police.

The campaign is intended to be terrifying, for both teenagers and their parents, but will have precipitated some much-needed and potentially life-saving family conversations across the country.


2018 has been the 70th anniversary of the birth of the NHS and there were a series of campaigns this year to promote its achievements and legacy, from nurse recruitment drives to fundraising activities.

The campaign was important because it articulated the aspirations of a service so close to the public’s hearts that it could reasonably be described as the country’s unofficial national religion.

Scammer Nanas 

This award-winning campaign, for public sector partnership Get Safe Online
saw five real-life grandmas from across the UK – dubbed the ‘Scammer Nanas’ – bait their grandchildren online into clicking on a phishing link to highlight internet security.

The campaign worked around research revealing that phishing is the public’s top online safety issue and also that millennials are twice as likely as the over-55s to be victims of it, despite this generation considering itself too cyber-savvy for online safety lessons.

Space Invaders

This road safety campaign film, created by Adam & Eve/DDB  for Highways England,
recreates the classic arcade game ‘Space Invaders’ on the motorway to convey an important message, after research revealed that tailgating is a major contributor to accidents. The initial evaluation for the campaign suggests it is possibly the government agency’s most successful yet, with 40,000 views of the film and hundreds of likes and retweets within days of its launch.

Our Day 

The annual 24-hour tweetathon, organised by the Local Government Association,
shines a light on the people at the heart of local authorities in order to boost public engagement with local services.

A diverse range of council workers, from park wardens to wedding registrars, tweeted and shared imagery about the work they do during a single day in November, with an estimated reach of 30 million people.

The campaign was important because it raises public understanding of the work of local authorities, but was delivered in a fun and engaging way which gives a human face to important work.

Get Out, Stay Out

Finally, and for the sheer loopiness of the concept, comes Staffordshire Fire and Rescue’s reworking of the ‘Oompa Loompa’ song from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

The low-budget campaign combines the important safety message of 'get out stay out', in the event of a fire, with some seriously psychedelic visuals - and who doesn’t like singing firefighters?

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