As you may be aware, someone very important turned 70 this month. On July 5, 2018, the National Health Service (NHS) celebrated its seventieth year of service. As part of the milestone, the British institution launched an extensive campaign that reached a varied audience, showing the power of PR done well.

Anna Olney-Smith, work experience at Stone Junction

The humble hashtag

Search #NHS70 on Twitter and you’ll see that the hashtag — and it’s many variations including #NHSat70, #OurNHS70, #HappyBirthdayNHS — is mentioned consistently every few minutes. Over 15,000 users have engaged with the hashtag, either by sharing, liking or commenting, and over two million users have seen tweets containing it.

It may be starting to sound like a cliché, but we all know the importance of social media in getting your brand out there. From popstar Cheryl Cole to members of the ambulance service, a wide range of users have shared their positive NHS experiences, demonstrating how a simple hashtag can encourage wide interaction and support.

More than a tweet

While the reported social media engagement numbers are impressive, it isn’t the only way the NHS has boosted public knowledge of its anniversary. In addition to the online presence of #NHS70, the institution organised a series of events:

  • Over 120 buildings were lit up in ‘NHS blue’ on July 5, 2018.
  • A spin-off campaign of ‘NHS 7Tea’ tea party events were held.
  • In collaboration with ITN Productions, a current affairs style programme was created, entitled ’70 years of the NHS’.
  • Hundreds of people, through the encouragement of the NHS 70 website, have taken a pledge to use NHS services wisely.

A lesson learned

The anniversary comes at a time when our NHS is facing many challenges, including underfunding, an aging population and rising costs of medical advancements, to name but a few.

Not only does this campaign show how wide community involvement can be encouraged through effective comms, but that a good PR campaign can trump negative public opinion. Remember the bad press following the WannaCry cyber-attack last year? In contrast, this campaign has successfully focused public thought on the celebration of NHS’ rich history, while highlighting the institution’s hopes for the future.

Most people stretch their birthday celebrations to last a weekend or even a week. The National Health Service has made its a year-long affair.  Well done NHS, you’ve made it a 70th birthday the whole nation can celebrate.

Your company may not be as large as the NHS, but that doesn’t mean effective PR isn’t just as important. Email us at sayhello@stonejunction.co.uk or call us directly on +44(0)1785 225416, to discuss how we can help plan a campaign that will get people talking.

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