Public Health - Winter Wellbeing

Creating true behaviour change with the simple things that still mean a lot

  • Integrated campaign
  • Insight
  • Public Relations


In the run-up to winter, we took on the task of keeping Cheshire and Merseyside healthier with a campaign that would surprise, shock and educate.


A campaign for the Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health Collaborative that simply told people to follow public health advice wouldn’t do.

Primary research showed that, following numerous national public information campaigns during COVID, there was a palpable sense of ‘message fatigue’ around handwashing and sanitising surfaces.

To cut through and change behaviours, we needed a strategy that would make people think again.

Our plan was to reveal the ‘invisible’ germs we encounter on a regular basis. And to demonstrate how easy it was for bacteria to be spread in everyday life and show how simple habits can stop the spread.

We selected five everyday items that were covered with dangerous bacteria and called upon the expertise of microbiologists.


After swabbing self-service checkouts, escalator handrails, computer keyboards, toilet door handles and household pet toys, bacteria were then grown in petri dishes.

From microbes found in human faeces to traces of E. coli, the items proved to have thousands of bacteria, with supermarket self-service checkouts the worst offenders.

Time-lapse video content of the bacteria growing in the petri dishes was captured and then turned into an animated graphic to begin our shock and engage tactics. 




We organised a roadshow to nine high footfall locations for maximum community engagement.

Our findings helped us set the day’s news agenda after securing high-profile media coverage with the likes of This Morning, Mail Online, The Independent, Mirror, New York Post, ITV Granada Reports and BBC Radio Merseyside.

We simultaneously ran paid and organic digital campaigns – with TikTok, Meta, Display and YouTube as our platforms of choice. This generated 4.9 million Impressions, a Reach of 1.5 million and 12,000+ Engagements across all channels.

We achieved 30% recall, rising to 52% of our target audience (16-34-year-olds). While four out of five people who saw the adverts claimed they made them wash their hands more or sanitise surfaces more.


pieces of media coverage


estimated total reach


million digital impressions


claimed the ads made them wash their hands


claimed the ads made them sanitise surfaces more

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