Schering, the UK’s leading oral contraceptive manufacturer, is investing
in a five year consumer public relations campaign to restore women’s
confidence in the pill.
Hill and Knowlton is utilising its healthcare and marketing
communications divisions to execute the programme, which industry
sources estimate to be worth pounds 200,000 in fees.
The agency has been briefed to ‘re-image’ the pill among young women, in
the light of media reports last October which claimed that some brands
could cause blood clots. The reports caused panic among Britain’s three
million pill users.
The campaign will target the teenage media, schools and universities in
a bid to get women, initially under the age of 25, to switch from
condoms to the pill, or use both methods of contraception.
H&K will also run an educational campaign aimed at GPs, family planning
associations, key NHS staff and directors of public health using
detailed research on risk perception.
Noel Hall, director of H&K’s healthcare division said the campaign’s aim
was to ‘redefine the concept of safe sex’ - a phrase which has come to
mean protecting against the HIV virus rather than pregnancy.
According to Hall, the campaign will address issues which include
returning to the ‘core values’ of the 35-year old contraceptive by
promoting the benefits of empowerment and choice originally associated
The agency will also tackle what Hall describes as ‘the condomisation of
safe sex’, the use of condoms as women’s preferred method of
contraception by discussing the sensitive issue of ‘condom failures.’
‘It is a simple message,’ said Hall. ‘We will be saying ‘to avoid
pregnancy use the pill’.
H&K’s contract will run for an initial two years although Schering is
aiming for a longer term five-year campaign.
Schering produces five oral contraceptive brands including Femodene,
blacklisted in last year’s scare.