PR > PR: Sectors

INTERNET'S RESIDENCY EXAM

McCANN BUCHAREST / REGINA MARIA HEALTHCARE NETWORK / 2019

Awards:

Silver Cannes Lions
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Overview

Credits

Overview

Why is this work relevant for PR?

In an effort to combat a real national habit, REGINA MARIA the Private Healthcare Network chose to draw the attention to some worrying statistics: 3 out of 4 Romanians self-diagnose, 7 out of 10 Romanians never get to the doctor for routine check-ups and 30% of Romanians have never been to the doctor in the last year. Self-diagnose often leads to self-medication, perpetuating a self-destructive behavior, so we wanted to educate and encourage a preventive health behavior by launching a challenge, with only one possible answer: a doctor’s education and experience cannot, under no circumstance, be replaced by online search.

Background

3 out of 4 Romanians self-diagnose using Google.

73% Romanians self-medicate.

1 out of 7 medicate their children without asking a doctor.

Romania is the top country in Europe in health-related Google searches and self-medication. This perpetuates a self-destructive behavior, leading to anxiety, medical condition aggravation and even death. Romanians have no medical education and they end up looking for diagnosis and even medication recommendations online or among the close ones. Even though buying antibiotics and strong medicines without medical prescription is illegal, Romanians manage to work their way around and convince pharmacists to ignore the law.

Giving the fact that most of the educational campaigns have previously failed, Regina Maria, one of the leading quality healthcare providers in Romania took the challenge of changing this behavior and make Romanians understand that Internet is not the answer to their medical issues and convince the to visit a real doctor instead.

Describe the creative idea

If Romanians use Internet as a doctor, why not have it tested just like real doctors do?

We hijacked the context of the National Residency Exam to check Google’s medical competency, by using it to complete the test that Romania’s future doctors were also taking.

To make it credible, we partnered up with Vice and their journalists and put the challenge in their hands with complete freedom.

Before, during and after the experiment, we fueled a social media debate to make a call to action for people to go to a doctor instead of Internet.

We created a tool to allow people to test Internet themselves and get a “failure certificate” to be used as a voucher for a doctor visit.

We hijacked the most common health-related Google searches to lead people to visit a real doctor, turning Google into a tool to change the behavior they helped to create.

Describe the PR strategy

3 out of 4 Romanians self-diagnose using Google.

73% Romanians self-medicate.

1 out of 7 medicate their children without asking a doctor.

As most of Romanians use Internet to self-diagnose without seeing it as a problem, a big and compelling debate was needed to make a strong call to action and change this behavior.

After several failed educational campaigns, we wanted to demonstrate that Internet is not an option for diagnosis, and the best way to prove it to the people was with an experiment that involved them as well.

If people treat Internet as a Doctor, let’s test it as a doctor became a successful line picked up by a large number of Romanians. Influencers amplified the campaign, and because we touched a sensitive topic in a newsworthy way, national TV and radio stations picked it up as an educational topic, giving a great exposure to our message.

Describe the PR execution

The same day as medical schools’ students, an independent journalist took the same official Residency Exam, but using Google Search. Before airing the recorded experiment, we generated a debate days before the Residency Exam date and made people bet for it. Bloggers and influencers participated live at our ‘exam’ to amplify the conversation.

The outcome of the experiment was turned into the core of our communication campaign throughout the media.

We even hijacked the most common health-related Google searches to lead people to our experiment and we opened the challenge to everyone, so they could try to pass it themselves with the Internet’s help, generating failure diplomas to all of those who failed the exam to be used as a voucher for a real doctor visit.

Media turned our experiment into a national interest health campaign to encourage Romanians to visit a real doctor.

List the results

43% increase in doctor appointments in December (1st flight of the campaign) vs same period last year.

11% of the online vouchers translated into doctor visits

22% of new customers gained, based on campaign vouchers

More than 229k new visitors to the webpage.

The highest CTRs were obtained from the search campaign (13.85%)

Media put self-medication on their news public message interests, generating a media value over 300k euro and reaching 10% of Romania’s population

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