NHS campaign from M&C Saatchi promotes use of 111 non-emergency line

First campaign from agency aims to ease pressure on GPs and A&E services.

NHS England is launching a campaign to encourage more people to use its 111 helpline in order to ease the pressure on A&E departments and GPs during the current cold spell.

The multichannel campaign, which is the first to come from M&C Saatchi and launches this week, uses a mix of empathy and humour to position 111 as the best solution for those uncertain of where to turn to in a healthcare dilemma. The agency claims that it is a significant evolution in the advertising strategy for NHS England from service-led messaging to emotional, human-led stories.

Phil Bastable, head of marketing for NHS England, said: "NHS 111 is a fantastic service that provides the public with a convenient way to get the right medical help or advice when they need it. However, there are still people who don’t know what NHS 111 is for or that in most of the country you can now access it online.

"This campaign uses a scenario that everyone can identify with and shows in a humorous way how people can react to an urgent situation that NHS 111 could help them deal with. We think this is a really creative and engaging campaign."

Mark Goodwin, deputy executive creative director at M&C Saatchi, added: "We’ve all faced the ‘Is it serious or not?’ dilemma. Swiftly followed by: ‘What on Earth should I do?’ This 111 campaign dramatises the internal tussle between ‘do nothing’, ‘consult Dr Google’ and ‘get me to A&E’. In doing so, it positions 111 as the one place you can turn to for exactly what to do. It’s been a great experience working on this and, hopefully, it will mean more people will get the help they need, when they need it." 

The work was created by Thom Farrall and Liam Campbell, and directed by Tom Geens (Johnny Foreigner) through M&C Saatchi.