NHMRC Helping Our Health

Insights have shown that a lack of awareness, particularly amongst clinical professionals and consumers, is a key barrier to recruiting participants into clinical trials.

Australians needed to know why clinical trials are important. We needed to show them — from experts and people they admire — just how big of an impact getting involved in a trial can make. 

Project Category
PR & Media Relations
Project Expertise
Media relations
PR & Community engagement
Public relations strategy

The brief 

Australia is one of the world’s leading destinations for clinical trials, providing significant benefit to the economy, and to our global reputation and competitiveness. 

To maintain this status and continue improving public and individual health, we need to ensure a robust and reliable stream of participants willing to get involved in trials. 

However, insights have shown that a lack of awareness, particularly amongst clinical professionals and consumers, is a key barrier to recruiting participants into clinical trials. 82% of respondents are familiar with the term ‘clinical trials’ and expressed a willingness to participate, but only 9.7% of respondents claimed to have actually participated.

In May 2018, the National Health and Medical Research Council engaged Think HQ to design and implement a campaign to raise awareness of the benefits and impact of clinical trials.


Idea

Australians needed to know why clinical trials are important. We needed to show them — from experts and people they admire — just how big of an impact getting involved in a trial can make. 

The aim was to drive Australians to the Australian Clinical Trials website to sign up to clinical trial alerts, and ultimately, encourage increased participation in clinical trials nationally. 
Think HQ developed an extensive PR campaign focused on targeted media relations and campaign ambassador activity. Our activity was bolstered by a broader digital and advertising campaign.


Outcomes

Think HQ engaged and managed Australian football legend and Hawthorn Football Club Captain Jarryd Roughead as ambassador and face of the campaign. We also secured Professor Ian Frazer, co-creator of the HPV vaccine and former Australian of the Year, as the high-profile medical spokesperson.

Think HQ successfully pitched case study profiles, contributed content and expert interviews. We also secured a key interview for Jarryd Roughead, who shared details about his cancer battle and personal experience with clinical trials with prominent sports commentator and columnist, Hamish McLachlan. The interview aired during Channel 7’s Saturday night AFL broadcast, and ran in print in the Herald Sun, reaching an audience of over 2.8 million people.

In addition to Roughead’s coverage, we secured an opinion piece from Professor Frazer in The Herald Sun, and news features in The Australian Financial Review, Channel Ten News, Channel Seven News, SBS, and news. com.au. Coverage overall had a potential audience reach of more than 4.3 million people. 

During the 6-month period between May–October 2018, traffic to the Australian Clinical Trials website increased by 250% year 
on year — five times the target.

More than 45,000 people searched for information about clinical trials, an increase of 380% year on year, and more than 11,000 people subscribed to receive clinical trial alerts.