A campaign urging young people to 'Keep calm, can you sort it yourself?' has won a Bronze Award in the annual Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) Best of Health Awards.
NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), worked with social impact experts Uscreates in a bid to cut the number of people attending A&E with minor injury and illness.
Young people aged 17-24 years helped adapt the 'Keep calm' branding so that it appealed to the target age group across a wide range of media including Facebook, bus shelter advertising, and a live event at Princes Mead shopping centre in Farnborough.
This saw young performers act out scenarios of people using A&E inappropriately, based on real-life examples. Around 250 branded first aid kits were given out to passers-by on the day to reinforce the message once they got home.
Sally Wood (19), from Ash Vale, was one of the shopping centre performers. She was contacted by Uscreates though her links with a local community theatre group, and she sourced fellow performers from the Hampshire and Surrey areas.
She said: "We used improvised comedy sketches, street theatre, flash mobs and songs to grab the attention of passers-by. Passing on the 'keep calm' message using these methods proved effective and engaging for young people, who were both informed and entertained.
"We were able to reach an age group that would otherwise be difficult to target, and having this face-to-face interaction was an extremely successful and rewarding experience. I was delighted to be a part of it."
Dr Mark Tyrrell, who leads on the project for the CCG, said: "We worked hard on this campaign to make sure that it appealed to our target audience, so to have industry endorsement is a feather in our cap.
"The campaign had backing right across the CCG, and we even had staff in all 24 of our GP practices getting involved by wearing special t-shirts and distributing badges and flyers to patients, creating an even higher awareness of the brand and campaign.
"Our goal was simple – to keep A&E clear for those who genuinely need urgent medical help.
"People with minor cuts and grazes, hangovers, stomach upsets or other minor injuries and illness should not go to A&E. There are plenty of alternatives, such as pharmacists, NHS 111 or self-care – most of which will ensure you receive medical help for your problem quicker than sitting in A&E waiting for your name to be called.
"This is a message that applies all year round, to people of all ages. Let's keep A&E for people who really need it."
The IPA Best of Health Awards showcase the best in creativity in healthcare across all media, with more than 400 entries in this year's competition. The IPA is the professional body for advertising, media and marketing communications agencies in the UK.
NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG assumed responsibility for planning and commissioning (buying) healthcare for 218,000 patients from 1 April 2013.