Campaigns: World Hepatitis Day 2009

Winner of Global Campaign of the year at the PRWeek Awards 2009, the World Hepatitis Alliance initiative focused on the fact that one in 12 people worldwide have the disease.

World Hepatitis Day 2009
World Hepatitis Day 2009

Editor's Comment: A remarkably well-planned and executed programme that met a series of tough goals across a bewildering variety of countries and cultures. Genuinely global, the campaign's sheer scale was superbly co-ordinated, leading to some impressive results.

Campaign  World Hepatitis Day

Client  World Hepatitis Alliance

PR team Fleishman-Hillard

Markets  Global

Timescale June 2008 - May 2009

Budget  Over £100,000

More than 500 million people worldwide have chronic viral hepatitis B and C, and the disease kills more than one million people every year. Despite this, hepatitis is not a priority for many governments and does not gain the media and public attention needed to drive change.


- Use World Hepatitis Day 2009 to place the disease on the global health agenda alongside HIV, malaria and TB

- Build on the success of the inaugural 2008 campaign, by boosting awareness, advocacy, fundraising and country capacity-building

- Address the challenges around stigma, disease misconceptions, a diverse patient population and provide adaptable solutions for patient groups.

Strategy and plan

The theme for 2009 was ‘Am I number 12?', to reflect the fact one in 12 people worldwide is living with hepatitis B or C.

Fleishman-Hillard developed campaign materials in seven languages, including media materials, newsletters, postcards and billboards. The WHD blog and website served as a campaign ‘hub' and all activity drove people to the site, which housed information, links, videos, regular updates and resources. Relationships were built up with high-profile celebrities and public figures to raise awareness of the day.

Resources were also provided to patient groups to help empower government relations and health minister engagement programmes. Support was secured from high-profile NGOs to build up partnerships.

Fundraising, disease awareness and advocacy toolkits were put together in seven languages including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. A creative competition was launched to develop awareness-raising visuals and promote the campaign.

Rallies were organised in Bangladesh and Venezuela and music events took place in several countries including Bosnia Herzegovina. A branded bus was used as a mobile testing facility in the UK, with celebrities, including Sadie Frost and Ken Livingstone, participating in testing and encouraging others to get tested. The ‘Am I Number 12?' logo was also projected on to buildings in Portugal and condoms with the ‘Am I Number12?' logo were distributed. Portugal also used an ‘Am I Number 12?' coffin display to put pressure on government to address local policy.

Measurement and evalution

The campaign generated 350 pieces of coverage in 18 countries. Free advertising space profiling the creative competition was secured around the world, totalling 1,300 six-sheet billboards. Celebrities recruited to endorse the campaign included US President Barack Obama, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Zoe Ball, and Miss Ghana 2008.


In total there were 42,021 visits to the World Hepatitis Day website from 137 countries, and 7,659 visits to the YouTube channel. There were 258 events held around the world, ranging from flash mobs distributing flyers in Germany to 500 children forming a ‘human 12' to raise awareness in Pakistan.

The campaign generated in excess of 1,300 emails personally addressed from individuals and patient groups around the world, with requests ranging from how people can participate, to requests for materials or statistics and advocacy advice. It further secured direct sponsorship and pro-bono support from 12 companies with a total value in excess of £1m.  

Through global advocacy and lobbying the campaign secured time on the WHO Executive Board Meeting to be held in January 2010. Support was secured from governments as far afield as Jordan, Canada, Mongolia and Ireland. It also secured the participation of the WHA at a health minister meeting in Kuwait, a meeting with CDC in China and with health officials in Taiwan who currently have a best-practice national model for hepatitis.



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