Case studies

Campaign Highlights 2016/17

This publication is a showcase of some of our leading campaigns from 2016/17. Each supports the government narrative themes set out in our Government Communications Plan published in May 2016. Download a copy of the 2016/17 publication.

Download an interactive pdf copy of the Campaigns Highlights guide 2015/16.

The GREAT Britain campaign Cabinet Office/ No10

GREAT Britain

Department for International Trade (DIT), Foreign and Commonwealth Office, VisitBritain and British Council 

The GREAT Britain campaign is the Government’s most ambitious international marketing campaign ever and showcases the very best of what our whole nation has to offer in order to encourage the world to visit, study and do business with the UK.

GREAT unifies the international growth promotion efforts of 21 government departments and organisations under a single, high-quality and powerful brand. Focusing on 13 priority markets, with a range of pan-market activities, the campaign runs in 140 countries worldwide and draws on partnerships, businesses and high-profile individuals to multiply its impact and reach new audiences.

The aim of the campaign is to increase the levels of trade, investment and tourism, and high quality students coming to the UK, leading to a measurable economic returns of £1.8bn for the UK economy from 2018/19 funding.

GREAT has achieved a confirmed economic return of over £3.9 billion from its activities since 2012 with a further £2.8 billion being validated. The campaign has changed target customer behaviour in key overseas markets, increasing audience intention to trade, invest, study in or visit the UK by between 10% to 18%. Over 650 businesses and high-profile individuals are backing the brand with joint funding, sponsored activity and active support.

Made in the Royal Navy

Ministry of Defence

The Royal Navy needed to recruit 4,494 high quality entrants to meet their targets. But the base level of applications has been in long-term decline, and there will be a million fewer 18-23 year olds in a decade.

This meant particularly reaching out to those who have historically been underrepresented in the Service – BAME groups and women.

This campaign was therefore aimed at those aged 16-24 and reflecting a cross-section of society. It took a long-term approach, recognising that it can take years for initial interest to develop into an application. With sustained messaging lasting over 3-5 years, MOD would create touchpoints throughout the long and complicated journey in which prospective applicants interact with the Navy.

High levels of emotional commitment are required from applicants currently in the recruitment process. To keep audiences engaged, the campaign we would focus on individual case studies, so that potential recruits could identify with stories of fully enlisted people just like themselves.

The attribution modelling and conversion analysis demonstrated that media and marketing contributed up to 28% of total Expressions of Interest (EOI)s and Applicants in the 2015/16 recruitment year.

The Made in the Royal Navy TV campaign was the best-performing media campaign in many years, and continues to contribute to a major uplift in applicants.

Change4Life: Sugar Smart

Public Health England

Change4Life was launched in 2009 with an aim to inspire a broad coalition of people to all play a part in improving the nation’s health. As part of Change4Life, deciding to create a specific campaign to alert people about the sugar in their diet and encourage them to make changes.

Aiming to reach the 7.8 million parents of 5 to 11 year olds, with a particular focus on the lowest socioeconomic groups. The secondary audiences were teachers, healthcare professional and others involved in the care of children – as well as children themselves.

The strategy was to make sugar content visible and real. Creating the Sugar Smart app which allowed families to see the sugar in thousands of products simply by scanning the barcode. Revealing that children consume over 5,500 sugar cubes each year, equivalent to the average weight of a 5 year old. This was brought to life in an impactful film, ‘Sugar Boy’.

PHE helped run advertising across 750 supermarkets, e.g. on trolleys in ASDA and smart screens in Tesco, to drive downloads at the point of sale. Mobile adverts were delivered into households when sugar-heavy products were on TV and we partnered to automatically count and visualise the sugar cubes in online shopping baskets and offer healthier alternatives.

There have been over 2 million downloads of the Sugar Smart app and 7 out of 10 mothers of children aged 5 to 11 were aware of the campaign. 30% of mothers reported that the campaign made them reduce their child’s sugar intake and this figure went up to 80% among those who had downloaded the app.

A test and control study using digital communications screens outside of supermarkets showed that the advertising led to a 4% decrease in sales of sugary cereals, a 3% decrease in sales of sugary drinks and a 4% increase in the sales of diet drinks during and post campaign.

Dietary data showed a small but significant impact on total sugar intake of children equivalent to one sugar cube per child per day.

Registration for the nation/Are EU registered?

Cabinet Office

The 2016 EU Referendum asked the public to make a once-in-a-lifetime decision on whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union. Given the importance of the decision, it was crucial that as many people who were eligible to vote were able to do so.

Our primary audiences were under-registered groups including younger people, BAME communities, overseas voters and home-movers. Audience insight from tracking the user journey through GOV.UK told us that the registration process was proving to be a barrier for some groups. We therefore needed to demonstrate the process in simple steps, including the fact that voters would need their national insurance number and where they could find it.

Mobilising at speed, the Cabinet Office Communications team worked with a range of partners on a multi-channel registration campaign. The full machinery of government was enabled and we harnessed innovative digital, media and strategic partnership, closely targeted to the audience, creating touch points with the public and building strategic networks with others outside of government.

The combined effort of the drive has contributed to a record number of people on the electoral register and helped to encourage 3 million people to register to vote over the course of the campaign. This included adding more young people to the electoral register, with 24.8% of those registering being under 25.

Power to Switch

Power to Switch

Department of Energy and Climate Change (2015)

To increase the number of households switching energy supplier and saving money, DECC ran a major five-week, advertising-led campaign to promote the financial benefits of switching and address the perceived barriers to changing suppliers.

All campaign content drove visits to the website where people could find and click through to Ofgem accredited Price Comparison Websites (PCWs) and was linked by Twitter #powertoswitch.

Public awareness of the campaign (55%) was much higher than previous DECC campaigns (15%) and search volumes for switching-related terms showed a sharp increased.

Compared to the same period in the previous year, 80% more households switched supplier during the campaign (OFGEM).

Your Life

Your Life

Department for Education

The objective of this three-year campaign is to raise participation in maths and physics A Levels by 50% in the next three years, ensuring that the UK is equipped with the skills it needs. As well as targeting young people, the campaign also reaches out to parents and teachers.

Your Life is now running as an independent Community Interest Company, with support from high-profile corporate sponsors such as Visa, Ford and Johnson and Johnson who also champion the need for better skills in our workforce.

In its first year, the campaign reached 35% of young people and 72% said they were inspired to study harder for their career, with almost half now reconsidering their A Level subjects.

Modern Slavery

Modern Slavery image

Home Office

Home Office needed to raise awareness that slavery exists in the UK and educate the public on the different types of slavery and victims – alongside encouraging reporting via a new helpline and website.

As well as TV advertising, campaign materials were produced including factsheets, a short film and booklet to illustrate the nature of modern slavery, highlight those most at risk and advertise the helpline number.

As a result of the campaign, public awareness of the existence of modern slavery rose by 11% to 61%, with 67% of these people understanding that anyone can be a victim and 64% recognising we all need to be vigilant.

Crucially, there was a 5% rise in the number of respondents who said that they would report possible cases of modern slavery to 67%.

More information

To find out more about any of these campaigns, please contact the campaigns team at

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