Good sexual health is influenced by personal beliefs and attitudes, social norms and peer pressure, but sexual health promotion and prevention is essential in helping people to make informed and responsible choices and decisions.

The Brief

Hertfordshire County Council commissioned Hitch to support them in increasing the number of men (aged 18-50) accessing sexual health services and information, and reducing the number of STI/HIV infections across Hertfordshire.

The Approach

The campaign was informed by secondary research, qualitative research with stakeholders, and quantitative research with the target audience. We found that: 81% didn’t know where their nearest sexual health clinic was, and 59% would expect to see a sexual health campaign on social media.

This research informed our co-creation workshops which suggested the approach of encouraging men to ‘stay safe while having fun’. This led to the wink design with the key message, ‘Had unprotected sex? Have you got the balls to #getchecked?’

This became an integrated campaign with digital channels a priority. Outputs included:

  • Mobile phone advertising on relevant websites and apps.

  • Printed materials including posters used in relevant places such as men’s toilets.

  • Stakeholder briefings and digital toolkit to encourage participation and support.

  • A Facebook page and paid-for social advertising and campaign hashtag.

  • Free advertising and media coverage.

The Result

media articles
video views
web visits

This campaign won Best use of Evaluation or Research at the UK Public Sector Communications Awards, with the following initial outcomes:

  • 11,246 visits to the #getchecked campaign page on Hertfordshire.gov.uk which contains sexual health information and links to NHS resources.

  • Social media ‘shares’ by important and influential stakeholders.

  • 19 media articles across 11 media outlets – online and press.

  • High mobile engagement from iPad users in the evening.

  • 700 views of the Periscope video stream.

Further Phases

A review of the campaign results enabled us to improve the performance of follow up campaign activities, and led us to develop several further phases of the campaign.

  • A tie in with the European Championships targeting men with the soccer themed message, ‘nobody likes a nasty tackle’.

  • A summer campaign targeting men who have sex with men.

  • A campaign to encourage men to order an HIV testing kit targeted at areas of high prevalence.

"Hitch provided us with the insight to develop and deliver an evidence-based, meaningful and successful public health campaign. They are a full service agency with expertise and innovation where we need it, be that market research, PR, digital or creative. And the positive and proactive working relationship we have with Hitch makes them a pleasure to create a campaign with."
- Rob Bacon, Health Improvement Lead for Sexual Health, Hertfordshire County Council


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