E Pluribus… Pluribus…?

E pluribus unum (out of many, one)

In the very first blog article posted on here, a health campaign launched by Public Health England and a charity was analysed, focussing in particular on how the campaign was launched in a very co-ordinated manner: being launched on world mental health day, a unified hash-tag, website and more.

Out of many different elements, one unified campaign emerged.

E pluribus pluribus (out of many, many)

Compare this to a similar campaign that was launched in December 2016 by Public Health England in partnership with the UK Sepsis Trust aimed at generating awareness of sepsis amongst very young childdren, a condition that kills over 37,000 in England anually. Read more here. 

It is interesting to note a few key things with regard to this campaign, in chronological order:

1) Pioneers: Governments in other countries, such as Canada, launched campaigns to beat Sepsis as early as 2013 (three years before the UK!) and were backed by national health departments in each state (see more below) with a clear strategy to raise awareness and tackle Sepsis.

Read more about the canadian campaign here:

2) Accidents happen: In February 2016, the mother of a child who was a victim of sepsis who, sadly, passed away due to the blunders of the NHS Direct emergency helpline was featured in a major UK Newspaper (see more)

The UK Sepsis trust, in a positive way, used this exposure to gather momentum for a national campaign and continued awareness of the deadly condition. This shows that although the media can cover campaigns in a negative light, they can also show it in a good light and helpo raise awareness of a condition. This can snowball and, eventually, lead to a campaign launch alongside PHE and Jeremy Hunt,here. 

3) A day to remember: Launching the campaign in December looks, initially, like a success. Especially when one takes in to account that traditionally, the end of year and festive season is a great springboard for fundraising.

However, take in to account that Sepsis Day is held on the 13th September. Many Hospital Trusts, such as: Gloucestershire Hospital Trust who held awareness days on this day (This example from 2014), meaning that there was possibly a lost opportunity to launch the campaign on this day with PHE and political endorsement from Jeremy Hunt.

Examples of Sepsis social media posts on Twitter using the Hashtag “#Sepsis”

Further thoughts:

I find it fascinating to consider how this campaign, driven by the UK Sepsis Trust, was possibly more organic than the I Am Whole campaign for mental health awareness. However, it would be more interesting to take an indepth look at the strategy behind the campaign.

One wonders whether the Sepsis trust always had a goal to have celebrity endorsement and involvement of UK Hospital Trusts. Perhaps they shunned a Hashtag and social media presence on purpose. There may be lessons learned from governments such as the Canadian Government who focussed on clinical / in Hospital awareness generation and awareness for parents rather than the general public.#

Further Note

*This blog has been written as part of my Media, Campaigning and Social Change MA (Part time) at the University of Westminster, for more information about this course please view: http://www.westminster.ac.uk/MACampaigning.


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