HEALTHCARE CAMPAIGN: Pharmacies use hay fever to highlight advice

Community pharmacies are the front door to the NHS, accessible to 99 per cent of the population within 20 minutes of their home.

Celebrity boost: Melinda Messenger
Celebrity boost: Melinda Messenger

Campaign: Hay fever awareness
Client: Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB)
PR Team: In-house and The Television Consultancy
Timescale: April 2008
Budget: £20,000

The Government is committed to making community pharmacies the first port of call for everyday healthcare advice, freeing up GPs to treat patients with more serious conditions.

But millions of people still choose to visit their doctor each year.

With this in mind the RPSGB designed a campaign that would highlight a common healthcare complaint and use this to raise awareness of the expert advice available from pharmacies.

To raise awareness of community pharmacists as an expert source of healthcare advice and treatment.

The plan was to target national and regional broadcast media. Hay fever was chosen as a condition from which millions suffer and for which effective treatments are available from all pharmacies.

A YouGov survey found more than five million hay fever sufferers believed they misdiagnosed their symptoms as a cold or flu. In addition, 73 per cent of those sufferers admitted taking medicines without seeking advice.

TV presenter Melinda Messenger was chosen to front the campaign as her young son Flynn is a hay fever sufferer who has been in hospital after suffering severe allergic reactions.

The campaign launched on 14 April and achieved widespread national media coverage with BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 5 Live and Five News running interviews with Messenger. In all of these she highlighted the RPSGB survey.

The campaign reached an audience of more than 30 million.

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