Helping to prevent cancer by shifting mindsets around HPV vaccination.

CDC: HPV is cancer prevention campaign

Challenge

Despite its benefits, HPV vaccination rates in the U.S. lagged well behind those of other adolescent vaccinations. Research revealed that the HPV vaccine’s perception as a “sensitive topic” (because of HPV’s transmission via intimate skin-to-skin contact) was a barrier to parent acceptance and to health care providers giving strong, effective recommendations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) engaged Hager Sharp to create a campaign that would motivate greater uptake of the HPV vaccine.

Solution

To shift the conversation from transmission to cancer prevention, we created a brand and campaign where the name was also the key message—HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention—enabling us to weave the cancer prevention theme into all communications. Understanding that health care provider recommendation was the number one predictor of vaccination, we launched the campaign focusing first on providers and strong peer-to-peer clinician engagement before expanding the target audience to include parents of adolescents.

Results

The campaign prompted a statistically significant change in the percentage of surveyed pediatricians giving high-quality recommendations. Over the course of our work on the campaign, HPV vaccination rates among adolescents ages 13–17 increased from 42% to 63% in males and from 60% to 69% in females.

Combined, the media buys earned over 617 million impressions and nearly 1.65 million click-throughs to the CDC website.

For health care providers, we created tailored digital and print ads as well as educational tools to support their patient-provider communication. Parent-targeted advertising included interactive digital ads and compelling testimonial videos. We established a strong presence at priority medical conferences, coordinated highly attended webinars, and secured impactful speaking engagements for the campaign’s Speakers Bureau. Our team also cultivated partnerships with leading cancer organizations to launch a recognition program for health systems, practices, and providers to sustain the campaign’s impact.

The HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention campaign bolstered an important shift in how people communicated about the HPV vaccine—reinforcing it as a cancer prevention tool.