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Gordon Young
Editor-in-chief at The Drum

How Valneva UK, Torpedo and Altair Media convinced UK travellers to brush up on holiday bugs

Torpedo and Altair Media won the ‘Paid Media Campaign’ category at The DADIs 2019 with its ‘Beware of the Bugs’ campaign for Valneva UK. Here, the agency reveals the challenges faced and the strategies used to deliver this successful project.

The challenge

Every year, over 71 million trips abroad are made from the UK. However, based on a survey of over 1,000 UK travellers, only 41% sought health advice before travelling. With so many travellers potentially putting their health at risk, the challenge for Valneva was to increase awareness of – and access to – comprehensive travel health services for people going abroad.

UK travellers show an apathetic nature towards their health while abroad. This is a continuing problem that many initiatives have already attempted to change. Even if travellers understand the relevance of seeking pre-travel health advice and support, they face many challenges – from limited support by existing services to finding a local travel health specialist in the first place.

The brief was simple – develop a digital campaign that would achieve the following objectives:

  • Reinforce the importance of seeking pre-travel advice among people with an intent to travel.
  • Provide access to comprehensive services for those travellers motivated by the campaign to seek advice and support.

The strategy

Valneva’s travel health service partnership programme served as the platform for increasing service provision across the UK. With travel health awareness low, social micro-influencers would be targeted as a cost-efficient and effective means of spreading the word and creating engagement around the need to seek support, in addition to traditional paid search, display and Facebook advertising to engage and motivate the audience.

With these things in place, using socially and search-generated data, both engaged and naive travellers would be identified and targeted at key points in the travel decision-making process, to encourage them to seek advice/support with enough time left before travelling.

By choosing character-based representations of the different diseases travellers may experience, we made the creative for the Beware of the Bugs campaign stand-out and memorable. This reinforced the streamlined support of our target audience and complemented the focused, tailored adverts and social content with relevance to the destinations potential travellers were interested in. Effectively, the campaign built on travellers’ motivation to seek further information by providing triggers of relevance and meaning for their specific journeys.

The social-influencer element of the campaign built on the experiences and know-how of those whose opinion is most likely to be heard: travellers themselves. By engaging with people who see travel as a passion, the campaign gained a higher level of credibility and independence, giving the messages greater impact.

These messages were then coupled with real-life photography and stories of travel-related health concerns and experiences; the result: impact, authenticity, and meaning all in one. Finally, the very nature of micro-influencing and shared social experience facilitated the spread of Valneva’s message beyond the initial audience, further increasing the campaign’s efficiency.

The campaign

Our approach ensured that when potential travellers were exposed to the campaign creative through the Beware of the Bugs social advertising campaign, they already had a motivated mindset.

To deliver timely, relevant information and advertising, we then mapped travel-related data signals from online behaviour (such as search and purchase behaviour or social interactions) and locations with existing comprehensive travel health services. This enabled us to target the most appropriate audience for the campaign while placing campaign investment where (a) it was most effective and (b) motivated travellers could most easily access the required services.

This data-driven approach let us employ relevant, research-based messaging, with real-world meaning for UK travellers, i.e. learning about travel health and seeking pre-travel advice as a result. Ultimately, this allowed us to generate great interest in Valneva’s Beware of the Bugs initiative, a web-based service providing information for disease and destination awareness, combined with a useful clinic finder tool.

The results

This campaign was hugely successful: The micro-influencing campaign achieved a collective reach of over 3m and 110,000 engagements, at just £0.09 per engagement. The social advertising campaign was seen by over 113m people and drove over 500,000 people to website with 102,000 of those (20%) completing either a destination or clinic-finding search.

The campaign uncovered a range of data sources for accurately profiling and identifying potential traveller types likely to travel without prior health advice: backpacker students, once-in-a-lifetime honeymooners, affluent retired travellers, and all those in-between.

“Torpedo developed a campaign targeting certain types of travellers, with tailored messaging for each of these groups. The media campaign delivered by Torpedo helped us achieve our metrics for Beware of the Bugs. It also ensured that more people, travelling to disease endemic areas, were better informed and protected against the risk of contracting disease in those countries. Due to the success of the 2018 media campaign, we increased our investment in this campaign significantly in 2019.” - Sean O'Reilly UK market development manager, commercial operations, Valneva UK

This project was a winner at The DADIs 2019. Click here to register your interest in 2020’s event.

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