Public Health Campaign of the Month: Creative for Good

Jul 22, 2013, 1:08 PM

>>NewPublicHealth is kicking off a new series to highlight some of the best public health education and outreach campaigns every month. Submit your ideas for Public Health Campaign of the Month to

Why limit your good ideas for improving population health to just one country when all the world can be your stage—to share and learn?

That’s the thinking behind Creative for Good, a new website developed by the Ad Council, a non-profit developer of public service advertisements (PSA) in the United States, Ketchum Public Relations and the World Economic Forum. The new site offers more than 60 U.S. and international case studies and well as a primer to help organizations plan and execute their own PSAs. 

Creative for Good grew out of the World Economic Forum Summit in Dubai two years ago, with the goal of helping countries around the world increase the quantity and effectiveness of social cause marketing.  

PSA examples on the site include:

Either You Drink Or You Drive campaign video from Italy

Either You Drink or You Drive (Italy): When the campaign started in 2009, Italy had an average of 633 car accidents, with 14 casualties and 893 injuries, every day. Alcohol or drugs were a factor in one out of three accidents. The public campaign to reduce the accidents, injuries and deaths included a 60-minute class and information kits at 3,000 driving schools; distribution of alcohol self-testing kits to newly licensed drivers in 11 cities; information stands at 9 universities; and an educational microsite. The campaign reached about 500,000 young people and in the period that followed the campaign, there was a decrease in drunk driving violations (down 9.8 percent compared to 2009) and road accident casualties (down 1.6 percent accidents, 10.3 percent casualties and 1.1 percent injured compared to 2009).

R UV UGLY (UK): R UV UGLY is a campaign launched earlier this year to reduce use of tanning beds by young adults. Tanning bed use is linked to melanoma, which can develop years after tanning.

The campaign used informal language, created a Facebook page and involved some of the country’s top models to help promote the message that tanning beds can lead to skin cancer to a target audience of youth. Perhaps most effective were the UV skin scans offered as part of the campaign at 37 clinics  to show the damage tanning might have already done to users’ skin. Immediately after the scan, half of the sunbed users under the age of 25 said they would not use tanning beds again, compared to only 22 percent who said that before the scan.

In a follow-up survey two months after the campaign ended, 46 percent of responders said they had stopped using tanning beds or used them less than they had before.

The campaign will be repeated in the UK next year, and a similar campaign will start in Scotland.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.