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Changing behaviour with an awareness campaign


Shaking babies can result in serious injury or death. Holdsworth Associates was asked by the NSPCC to devise and implement a communications campaign that would help change behaviours. It had the following objectives:

• Raise awareness of the vulnerability of babies and their need for careful treatment

• Create recognition of the early signs that a baby is at risk

• Encourage parents under stress to ask for help

• Provide a pilot model for planning and implementation of an awareness campaign.


Many child protection awareness campaigns rely on shock to get the message across. It was felt that in this campaign, while it was important to stress the severity of the problem, we wanted to engage with the audience and empower them to take the next stage.

The relative size different between an adult and a child is the major reason why babies are vunerable – the Saints rugby team are huge and it was felt that an image of them with a child would explain visually and powerfully the messages of the campaign.

NSPCC child protection campaign

Action taken

The Saints rugby team modelled for a poster campaign and participated in a media launch event. Photographs of the Saints were used by the media.

A media briefing pack with quotes, research, case-studies  and anecdotes was prepared to create sustained coverage.

Training packs were created for healthcare professionals and distributed widely.

A multi-agency conference was held to promote understanding of the signs and symptoms.


All the steering group felt that the campaign had not only met but also exceeded its objectives. Further copies of the teaching pack were requested – over 200.

Demand for the posters also exceeded expectations – in fact they were so popular copies were stolen! Sympathetic sustained coverage was achieved in media throughout the country.

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