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The Problem

Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases.  They’re designed so they do not give people the infection they’re protecting against.  Research into vaccines is the only way to find out which vaccines will work.  Researchers need people to take part in their studies so they can find out which possible new vaccine works best.

On behalf of The Cabinet Office, we were tasked with recruiting people to register their details on nhs.uk/researchcontact, to sign up to be contacted about taking part in approved UK coronavirus vaccine studies. 

The Intelligent Idea

Your NHS needs you.


We needed an engaging overarching campaign line that could, if possible, be tailored to resonate strongly with the 4 main target audiences.

To do this, we identified patriotism as our rallying call.  

The Solution

Persuading people to volunteer for scientific studies is difficult, there are many wide and varied  barriers to participation.

We couldn’t address all of these barriers in the suite of assets we’re developing, nor did we want to start the conversation in this space. 

Our primary role was to persuade people to visit NHS.uk to find out more information about permission to contact. 

The website would need to play a vital role in addressing individual barriers to participation.

To persuade sufficient people to visit the site, we needed to identify the most common unifying theme to motivate the widest number of people.

The Results

The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), a Cabinet Office initiative, ran an online experiment with a representative sample of 3,001 UK adults on 14-15 July 2020 to test five versions of the poster encouraging people to sign up to the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry.

The results were as follows:

  • 77% of people correctly recalled that they should sign up to the register by going to the website.
  • 75% of people would sign up.
  • 90% of people thought it was very easy to understand.

The BIT stated that this campaign  performed better than average against all other Covid related campaigns they had tested since early March 2019.

The Happy Client

This campaign was obviously extremely urgent(!) and needed creative insight, strategy and planning delivered in a very short space of time.  With a myriad of stakeholders to please, the team at SHA. more than delivered on every front.

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