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    May 16, 2024 | Posted by: Publicis Health Media


    The Minds Behind HPV F’s Everybody

    Publicis Health Media (PHM) and Digitas Health teamed up with F*ck Cancer, a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to the prevention of cancer, on a multi-platform awareness campaign to educate young people on the importance of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. Part of PHM’s #PHMLove for Good social impact initiative, Publicis Health Media and Digitas Health partnered to bring awareness to the impacts of HPV through HPV F*cks Everybody.

    We sat down with the minds behind the campaign—Tyler Nall, GVP, Platform Strategy at PHM, Gary Wentz, SVP, Group Creative Director and Meredith Gardner, VP, Group Creative Director at Digitas Health to get a behind-the-scenes look on this disruptive new work.

    Gary and Meredith—how did HPV F’s Everybody come about as a creative idea and what inspired the final look?

    Meredith Gardner: We opened an agency-wide creative brief that sparked concept exploration, and this idea rose quickly due to its bold and inclusive nature. A small team of creatives presented the initial idea that really centered the brief’s goal of reaching a Gen Z market. As a generation that doesn’t discriminate, it’s important to recognize that HPV doesn’t either. Gen Z also has immense power to make change in the world and could be the generation who — through vaccination — makes the biggest impact on HPV rates in the future.

    Gary Wentz: The campaign was designed to complement F*ck Cancer’s branding but with a bold PSA-esque twist that evokes a “music festival” vibe to help the messages and imagery stand out. We aimed to capture the vibrancy, diversity and authenticity of our audience.

    Tyler, what foundational ideas inspired the media strategy for the campaign?

    Tyler Nall: The worst part about HPV was also—to us—the most freeing. It affects everyone. Per the CDC, “nearly everyone will get HPV at some point in their lives.” While the campaign focuses on reaching men 18-26, this reality also gave us the latitude to focus on everyone, further widening our reach and giving us the opportunity to work with partners we may not normally interact with. We joked that HPV doesn’t care about brand safety so neither should we. This philosophy allowed us to spread this message far and wide.

    How did we identify which channels to prioritize?

    TN: There were two components that drove our thought process on which channels and partners we would target for this campaign: data and mindset. On the data front, we looked at what media vehicles were driving the greatest reach to our demo. As it pertains to mindset, we thought about where a message of about protecting yourself and your partner would be the most appreciated. We decided it was dating apps and porn sites. 

    To be clear, our partnerships are the only reason this campaign was able to come to life. This campaign was done entirely pro-bono, so everyone donated their time and media impressions to get this out into the world. We are fortunate to be surrounded by people and brands that shared our desire to think about stopping the spread of HPV differently. We started working with our media publisher and platform partners early in the process and asked for feedback on how (and if) the concepts we were developing would resonate with their audiences. This allowed us to make sure we could have the widest reach possible.

    We saw HPV F’s Everybody on social platforms, out-of-home on college campuses and in malls, and across so many digital platforms. How did you think about making the campaign come alive in these different environments?

    GW: F Cancer takes a no bullshit approach to their communication, which we felt was important to embrace to drive the authenticity of this campaign. This extended to our approach to HPV education on the campaign landing page as well as messaging across channels. Each asset was intentionally crafted to suit its placement — from endemic and lifestyle sites, on-campus, audio streaming platforms to social and out-of-home. Regardless of when or where the campaign was experienced by our audience, the goal remained the same: create the quickest path to vaccination.

    HPV F’s Everybody even made it to one of the biggest stages in the country—Times Square. Tyler, can you talk us through how we made this activation happen?

    TN: We felt that a Times Square placement was critical to this campaign. By bringing this message to a highly-visible platform, we were able to thrust the campaign into the cultural conversation and show that we aren’t afraid of talking about this topic publicly and broadly. We knew it wouldn’t be easy to pull off, so we reached out to our partners—and with some creative thinking and partnership from Clear Channel Outdoor, we were finally able to bring this high-impact placement to life. The placement then ran for 10 days in Times Square at Broadway and 47th Street, across from the iconic TKTS booth where hundreds of people gather each day. Seeing the campaign shine in the middle of one of the busiest streets in the country was definitely a highlight!

    What was most enjoyable/interesting about working on this campaign?

    TN: It was refreshing to work on a campaign with fewer restrictions (coming from my day-to-day in the traditional health space). I originally got into the advertising industry to make compelling, thought-provoking work that hits you in the chest. This gave us such a cool opportunity to do great work for a great cause.

    MG: HPV isn’t a new problem, but as an organization, F Cancer was poised to take it on from a different perspective. Instead of replicating things that have been tried in the past, they were willing to go 100% at a younger generation — one that’s newly in charge of their health and motivated by positive change for the common good.

    What surprised you the most about working on this campaign?

    GW: The commitment to “extra credit time” is always amazing to watch. So many people across Publicis came together for this project because they saw its importance to public health. We know we’re surrounded by talented, hard-working people, but when you see this level of “above and beyond,” it’s truly inspiring.

    TN: How quickly the marketplace jumped to action. It was amazing to see so many brands energized to support the cause and message. Truly thankful for them and their partnership. 

    At Publicis, we often talk about the Power of One. As a collaboration between DH & PHM, this partnership represents The Power of One—how do you think this mentality showed up while working on this campaign?

    TN: It was truly a collaborative process from day one. Our teams were fully integrated throughout – reviewing the landscape together, developing messaging strategies, determining appropriate media channels and how messages fit best within those—the list goes on and on. This felt like one team, not just partners from related agencies.

    MG: Sometimes, creative and media find themselves very disconnected by goals, budgets, KPIs, or parameters of success. All of which can lead to missed opportunities to maximize the power that collaboration can bring. For this campaign, DH and PHM were connected every step of the way, enabling us to make quick decisions and meet all placement goals as donated media opportunities continued to roll in. This partnership was essential to the launch and success of this campaign and is a living case study of how strong creative and media can be together.

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