Ads spearhead UK anti-flu strategy

04 May 2009

LONDON: The cornerstone of the UK Department of Health's anti-swine flu strategy is a heavyweight TV, press and radio campaign from DDB advising consumers to “Catch it. Bin it. Kill it.”

The above-the-line campaign is being backed by mailshots to all households as evidence mounts that the illness has spread from visitors to Mexico to other members of the population.

One of the tasks facing the UK government is to counter suspicions that the threat of swine flu is exaggerated, following recent scares over viruses including bird flu, SARS and so-called ‘Mad Cow' disease. None of these had the impact among humans in the UK that medical experts feared.

There is also lobbying from pig farmers, pork marketers and retailers for the virus to be called H1N1 rather than swine flu by the authorities and the media, as they fear pork sales could be hit even though there's no evidence so far that eating pork transmits the virus.

Beef sales took a decade to recover after the Mad Cow outbreak and the subsequent European ban on British beef exports, while bird flu devastated poultry sales. 

Data sourced from Department of Health; additional content by WARC staff.