How one Covid-19 campaign changed the behaviour of a whole region

LA7’s ‘Killing Covid with Kindness’ campaign set out to reduce the number of positive Covid-19 cases within four months.

In the autumn of 2020, seven local authorities in the North East of England joined forces to tackle the pandemic head on. The UK was still reeling from Covid-19 and, with the North East entering enhanced restrictions, they felt the problem was particularly northern.

The LA7, as they came to be known, along with Drummond Central, set out to deliver a behavioural insight-led campaign that would change the narrative at a time where government messaging was confusing and ever-changing, and ultimately reduce the number of positive Covid-19 cases in the region by March 2021.

To do this, they would focus on empathy and appreciating people’s sacrifices, demonstrate tangible steps to recovery, inspire a sense of togetherness by offering a shared goal, and adopt a positive tone of voice avoiding hectoring or authoritarianism.

‘Killing Covid with Kindness’ featured 10 local people thanking the region for everything it was doing to stop the spread. Geo-targeted digital media was used to reach parents around schools and people who had been in care homes, while workers and commuters were targeted by radio and the region’s transport network.

Ad vans were also deployed to get to hard-to-reach audiences, while a specially-built hub hosted the latest restrictions, behavioural tips and stories from people in the campaign.

Some 94% of people who saw the campaign took a clear message from it and 92% agreed they had the information they needed to keep themselves and others safe, compared to 83% who hadn’t seen the campaign.

Crucially, the campaign changed behaviour. The per 100,000 case rate in the region tracked at or below the UK average and the regional Christmas peak fell at a faster rate than the UK average. This makes LA7 a worthy winner of the 2021 Marketing Week Masters award for Health and Life Sciences.