Background Dying Matters Week is an awareness-raising week to encourage people to talk more openly about death. The aim of the week is to encourage a shift in attitudes to accept death as a natural part of everybody’s life cycle.
Aims To run a creative campaign, on minimal budget, focusing on getting the wider general public to engage in discussion about death. To use humour to make the topic more accessible. To create a lasting legacy to carry on the conversation after the week has ended.
Methods The campaign encouraged engagement by posing the question, ‘what’s your funeral song?’ Staff and volunteers were polled on their favourite funeral song and a lip synch video created, filmed in a single take through the hospice, featuring staff and volunteers.
Two events provided further reach to a non-medical audience. ‘We need to talk about death’, with Dr Kathryn Mannix, included quizzes, Prosecco and goody bag and was hosted by Virgin Radio DJ, Amy Voce.
Using humour to tackle the taboo, comedian and actor Greg Davies was interviewed by Cariad Lloyd for a live edition of her award-winning podcast Griefcast.
Results The events sold out. 100% attendees agreed to talk to friends and family about dying. The lipsync video was picked up by ITV Central and viewed 98,000 times, with 525 comments across all social platforms, 1872 likes, 795 shares. A hospice in Canada asked to use the video as part of their training. Griefcast podcast allowed us to leave a lasting legacy for the campaign. Extensive coverage in regional print and broadcast media. Its success has encouraged training to better equip more staff to talk to patients and families about dying.
Conclusion Employing creativity in a public awareness marketing campaign can have a considerable impact on audience reach.
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