DoH reveals strategy for social marketing team

The Department of Health is to establish a 20-strong 'social marketing' team as it puts third-party endorsement at the heart of future information campaigns.

The shift in strategy will see retailers, supermarkets, private and public gyms, chemists, the voluntary sector and community groups playing a central role in the government department's communications.

The move comes as the DoH steps up its attempts to improve the fitness of a ­nation increasingly ridiculed by its European Union peers for its bad health and love ­affair with junk food.

‘People do not want more or better information but they want to understand it. Everyone knows they should eat "five a day" [fruit and vegetable portions], but this alone will not change behaviour, and people are more likely to trust people they know,' said a spokeswoman. Traditionally, Whitehall campaigns have been advertising-led, with PR and other comms activity in support.

Social marketing is an attempt by the DoH to better target its messages. It will be used for the first time in a campaign to tackle obesity and health inequalities when the unit goes live in January.

Such campaigns are likely to involve regional marketing campaigns, comprising a range of groups and local people.

The DoH appointed four agencies - Band & Brown, The Constella Group, The Forster Company and The Red Consultancy - to a section of its PR agency roster badged ‘social marketing' six weeks ago (PRWeek, 1 Sep).

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