Can marketing save lives?

by Sunny Thinking

The Museum of Brands in London is running a great exhibition around public health campaigns. As health marketing geeks, we were fascinated to find out more…


What makes a successful public health campaign?

Over the last century health marketing challenges have changed as much as our attitudes towards them. Whether it be tackling topics such as smoking, obesity, sexual health, physical activity, alcohol awareness, drug addiction or mental health – what makes a campaign work and engage with the public?

The Museum of Brands exhibition - Can marketing save lives?

Public Health England have helped put together a fantastic exhibition at the Museum of Brands called Can Marketing Save Lives. Running until May 2019, it showcases some leading campaigns from the past century and presents a selection of historical posters, marketing materials, TV adverts and objects, which set out to educate, influence, motivate and even scare people into action.

As health marketing specialists, we find it a useful insight in to the role of marketing in communicating messages to the public. It’s also a fascinating look in to how styles have changed over the years when it comes to campaigns. How creative approaches have changed over the years to ‘nudge, shove and shock’ public behaviour and attitudes.

Sheila Mitchell, director of marketing at Public Health England, says: “The exhibition showcases examples of how the government has communicated public health messages over the past century to show just how much has changed.”

Karin Kihlberg, executive director, Museum of Brands highlights how the exhibition provides an insight into different cultural eras and that each campaign was chosen for its “cultural, social and political impact.”

Different creative approaches to health promotions

From simple typographic messages, through to highly emotive use of imagery and photography, the exhibition highlights how different creative techniques can be used to create memorable, effective campaigns that help the public look after their health. It’s also interesting to see the types of campaigns that ran many moons ago, many of which wouldn’t see the light of day nowadays but were socially acceptable once upon a time.

It’s also interesting to note how Mitchell says it is not only the messages themselves, but the ways in which they are conveyed that has changed.“Our methods for marketing public health messages have changed a lot over the past century,” she says. “We don’t tell people what to do; we give them the tools and technology they need to take the next step and actually change their behaviour.”

Sunny Thinking specialises in health marketing

Away from the bright lights of London, back here at Sunny Thinking we also have a proven track record of creating many successful health marketing campaigns for the NHS. We've been nationally recognised as a public spirited agency and you can view examples of many of our campaigns in the work section of our website including the award-winning Andy Mann men’s health and Safer Drinking in Later Life campaigns.

Can Marketing Save Lives? A century of public health marketing campaigns runs until 26 May 2019 at the Museum of Brands.

Posted by Jonathan, Managing Director at Sunny Thinking.

If you would like to discuss your next health marketing campaign with us please contact us to arrange a meeting.

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