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GCS Campaign of the Month winner March 2021

Congratulations to the Department for Education, winner of March’s GCS Campaign of the Month competition for their “Uni Safe” campaign.

The campaign aimed at raising awareness of the travel window between 3 and 9 December to reduce the risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission among university students returning home for the Christmas break. The other objective was to encourage students to get tested before travelling.

The team worked with colleagues in other government departments to implement the campaign across paid-for and partner channels, including working with social media influencers and student organisations. The campaign was featured in BBC News, The Independent, Evening Standard, Northern Echo, Times Higher Education, to name a few.

The campaign achieved its objectives; 71% of England’s students and their parents said they were aware of the travel window. National Express [coach company] also observed a 122% increase in the number of passengers in the first 4 days of the travel window. Additionally, from 30 November to mid-December 2020 over 301,905 students got tested which helped to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among asymptomatic students.

Judges highlighted that “the campaign made a positive impact on the UK student population at a very challenging and worrying time for them”. They praised the ‘risk, remind and reward’ format, low-cost approach, and a clear, consistent messaging.

The judges also commented that it was a fantastic example of collaborative working to deliver a multichannel campaign, especially when it came to using various key influencers on social media.

Briony Biddle, Senior Strategic Communications and Marketing Manager at the Department for Education, yesterday said:

“It’s lovely news that Uni Safe has been recognised as GCS Campaign of the Month. Taking on this new campaign, delivering it all from home and to an audience that we’ve never done any paid comms to before, has been a challenge but a really rewarding one. It’s all been a team effort and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our departmental policy colleagues and comms colleagues across Whitehall.”

Ian Gardiner, Senior Communication Manager at the Department for Education, added:

“We’re really pleased with the impact the “Uni Safe” campaign had. Working with colleagues across government departments has been really rewarding and will stand us in good stead to continue this kind of collaboration in the future.”

Congratulations to the Department for Education campaign team:

  • Matthew Mitchell – Strategic Communications Lead
  • Briony Biddle – Senior Strategic Communications and Marketing Manager
  • Ian Gardiner – Senior Communications Manager
  • Holly Manj – Senior Media Officer
  • Robyn Meadwell – Media Officer
  • Margaret O’Mahoney – Social Media Content Creator
  • Ryan White – Social Media Content Creator
  • Aaron Walters – Social Media Content Creator
  • Wajid Ali – Social Media Content Creator
  • Lee Martin – Senior Content Producer
  • Yaakov Chaliotis – Chief Media Officer, Social Media & Digital
  • Tim Gatt – Head of Digital Engagement and Creative Content


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