DoH reviews its flu immunisation brief

Euro RSCG London is on alert after the Department of Health called a review of its flu immunisation account.

COI Communications has invited HHCL/Red Cell, Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy and Publicis to battle it out against the incumbent for the business, which is worth an estimated £6 million.

The media planning brief, held by ZenithOptimedia, is not included in the pitch, managed by COI.

This year's flu campaign will differ to those of previous years. Free flu vaccinations have been available to those over 65 and those in risk groups, such as asthmatics, for some time. However, this campaign will concentrate on encouraging those in the "at-risk" groups as well as healthcare professionals to get their free flu jabs.

"The flu campaign messages are as vital as ever, since we cannot assume we will be helped by low levels of winter flu seen in previous years," a DoH spokeswoman said.

"So far, we have been able, through advertising and PR, to encourage a majority of older people to have their jab from their GP or practice nurse. But this year, we aim to expand our appeal to younger at-risk people who may have chronic conditions and are harder to reach."

Pitches will be held in July, with the campaign due to break in the autumn ahead to the immunisation programme, which runs between September and November.

Euro RSCG won the account in 2000 and its campaigns featured the former boxer Sir Henry Cooper.

The campaign proved to be successful - with more than 70 per cent of older people taking up the vaccination, it exceeded the Government's target.