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Thank You North East


Seven councils in the North East – County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, Sunderland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside – have joined forces to deliver a social behaviour change campaign to reduce the spread of coronavirus as we head into the critical winter months.

Drummond Central was appointed as the strategic and creative lead agency and worked in partnership with other north east agencies, SD Advertising and McBryde & Co. on media planning and buying, and PR and content respectively.

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Behavioural insight research, undertaken by Drummond Central, found that people in the region were still very worried about the ongoing situation but feeling frustrated at the impact restrictions were having on their social lives, relationships and mental health. Knowledge of what to do was high but people were finding it increasingly difficult to always follow every rule. Sometimes they were consciously bending rules, other times they simply forgot or took cues from others who were rule-bending.

Neil Caffery, Head of Planning at Drummond Central, said, ”Fatigue is a real barrier to adherence. It’s hard work always abiding by every rule and being told what to do over and over again can take its toll on people’s motivation and capability to stick to the rules.  We heard in our research that people were starting to take their own calculated risks, interpreting the rules themselves and creating their own emotional loopholes to justify bending the rules. We knew that our campaign needed to address this without being just another voice telling people what they can’t do. The strategy is founded on empathy and reminds people of the value of keeping going and sticking to the rules”.

The outcome is an intimate, emotionally-charged campaign featuring real people including high-risk individuals and key workers. Photography was by north east based Dan Prince. The campaign thanks the people of the North East for their efforts, and asks them to continue to adhere to advice around social distancing, mixing households and face coverings to beat Covid and get back to the life we all want.

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The campaign launches today and will run across TV, radio, OOH, press and digital until spring – directing viewers to a website dedicated to providing people of the North East with Covid information for the North East. The activity is being supported and amplified by the councils, third sector, NHS, blue light services, public transport bodies and other community groups.

Ann Bridges, Head of Communications, Northumberland City Council said “Our roles in local authorities mean that our work has the power to genuinely improve and save lives. There’s a responsibility on us all to create the most effective work we can. I am confident that for this campaign we have done everything we can to understand how best to reduce the spread of the virus.”

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Dan Appleby, Managing Director of Drummond Central said, ‘This is the most important social behaviour change campaign the region has seen and to be honest, it’s one I wish we hadn’t had to produce. But we’re incredibly grateful to have been given the responsibility to produce this campaign alongside our talented agency partners and friends. It was crucial that our work was based on solid insights and behavioural science principles. And we hope that it nudges people’s behaviour enough to protect the people of the north east and to keep those we love safe.”