Cannes Lions

A Touch of Flu: UV Experiment

21GRAMS, New York / ASTRAZENECA / 2023






Flu can be seriously debilitating not just for children but for local health services. Vaccinating them is proven to reduce hospital admissions by 85%. The effect even spreads to the adults around them, reducing their doctor visits by 63%.

Against this background and hardening attitudes towards vaccination our brief was to target hard to reach parents and persuade them to get their child vaccinated against flu.


The UV Experience is an immersive experiment that took place at Pumpherston Primary School in Scotland. At the beginning of the film of the experience we set out its purpose - to visually reveal the spread of flu germs. We placed UV ink under schoolchildren’s noses then watched to see how far it would spread during the school day (as the children ran around, grabbed things (and each other)). When we finally turned on the black lights, illuminating the now colourful UV ink, the answer was…literally…everywhere. The traces of touch were spread across the school and each other. The colourful and powerful finalé sees the children sitting for a class photo under normal lighting conditions, then reminding us just how covered in UV ink they were. Thus casting light themselves on why it’s so important to vaccinate them.


The results of our campaign were striking. Proving that some things just have to be seen (or heard) to be believed.

Half the UK engaged with the campaign

33,300,150 impressions

2,074, 792 interactions

+53% forecast expectations

3,064,876 vaccines given

But most importantly, we changed behaviour, with 79,687 extra kids vaccinated

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