NHS Leeds teams with Umpf on a campaign that changes with the weather

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is working with Umpf on an innovative health awareness campaign that combines weather-activated digital messages with live, artist-painted posters.

The month-long out-of-home initiative, which launches this week, will see five alternative health awareness messages broadcast on 38 digital screens in Leeds city centre.

Each day an awareness message will play depending on that morning’s forecast: high UV will trigger a sunscreen and cover-up message; high pollen will trigger allergy medication advice; and there will be regular reminders for people to keep hydrated. Two further ads will remind the public about having their asthma medication with them at all times and using it when appropriate to do so.

The digital campaign is being supported by a marketing first for the NHS – billboard posters will be painted live each day for one week at a prominent commuter intersection in Leeds, close to the universities.

Leeds-based artist Emma Hardaker has been commissioned to live paint health notifications on a 96-sheet billboard, based on that day’s UV, pollen and temperature forecasts.

Dr Bryan Power, a local GP and Clinical Lead for Long-Term Conditions at NHS Leeds CCG, said: “We are creating ‘prevention-not-cure’ awareness messages as close to live as is feasible in an out-of-home advertising environment.

Leeds artist Emma Hardaker has been commissioned to live paint health notifications on a 96-sheet billboard

“In the summer months, and into the return-to-school period, we see increases in the number of people affected by hot weather-related conditions. This can range from exacerbation of existing conditions, such as asthma, over-exposure to sun, dehydration and other allergy-specific conditions including hay fever – many of these are preventable.

“Nationally and locally, this means an increase in attendances at busy GP and A&E departments for conditions that could have been prevented by simple self-care.

“This campaign is not about reminding the public about the weather, which we can all check on our phones and computers, it’s a public health initiative designed to make us all a little more aware. It’s also important that we keep an eye out for our vulnerable neighbours during spells of extreme weather.

“I’m hoping that this innovative approach will encourage people to take greater responsibility of their health and as a result reduce the pressure on our frontline NHS staff.”

The initiative, which has been created by Leeds-based integrated agency, Umpf, with media booked by out-of-home media owner Clear Channel, runs until mid-September and is accompanied by social media and a campaign microsite.