Virgo Health wins Agency of the Year at PRWeek Healthcare Awards

We are absolutely over the moon to share that Virgo has just won Agency of the Year at the PRWeek Healthcare& Pharma Comms Awards.

Up against seven other shortlisted healthcare agencies, the write up says it all: ‘Truly innovative and creative thinking that’s kept its culture as vibrant as ever in a virtual world. By living and breathing its values Virgo Health continues to thrive, unlocking unprecedented growth, developing new client relationships and cementing existing ones, all while putting its people and their wellbeing first to create a true agency for the future.’

We couldn’t be prouder of this amazing team, very single person has contributed to our incredible success, creative work and growth this year helping make Virgo the very best it can be.

Here’s to a brilliant team and an even better 2022!

The rise of the HCP influencer

By Natasha Weeks, Consumer Health Executive Director

Healthcare professionals (HCPs) have always been hugely influential when it comes to making decisions about our health, but recently there has been a significant increase in the number of them attracting a large following on social media.

I’m not just talking about ‘media medics’ – the term we used to give GPs with columns in magazines and seats on TV sofas. Their monopoly is over (and so is that term).

There’s a new era of HCP influence and it’s thriving.

This is, I suspect, most recently fuelled by consumers wanting access to more expert-led advice (versus ‘celebrity’ endorsement) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virus advice via TikTok docs suddenly became a thing and HCPs aren’t leaving the platform any time soon.

From GPs to midwives to specialists, they are not only sharing health advice and product recommendations but documenting their personal lives and even professional struggles.

Of course, HCPs are human too, and seeing this other side of them makes them more authentic – a winning combination coupled with their natural authority in healthcare.

It could be a midwife using a baby brand with their own baby, a dermatologist recommending a cream they use on their dry skin, or a GP demonstrating how to conduct a breast check and where to go for more information.

With many commanding more than 100,000 followers, it’s no wonder brands are flocking to HCP influencers, but what is changing are the types of brands wanting to work with them.

Consumer health and wellness brands, plus public health and charitable campaigns, were there first, but now a broader range of consumer brands are exploring the power of HCP influence.

This is most certainly linked to more brands seeking credibility to play in the health and wellness space.

This evolution shows no sign of slowing down – in fact, many high-profile HCP influencers are becoming ‘celebrities’ in their own right, and generating mainstream editorial attention too.

However, as communicators we need to be mindful of this blurring of lines. It’s essential we work with HCP influencers authentically and compliantly.

Celebrities are not permitted to endorse medicines. They are, however, allowed to endorse medical devices and food supplements.

HCPs can endorse medical devices, but there are restrictions when it comes to advertising medicines and food supplements.

But at what point does an HCP become a celebrity? Isn’t it time we had more specific regulations around working with HCP influencers?

There is even less clarity when asking HCP influencers to endorse cosmetics or FMCG brands. A key consideration is whether you want to make a health claim, without being classified as a health product.

Whatever their profession or specialism, the HCP will also be governed by their own regulatory bodies and councils, highlighting what they can and cannot say.

There are subtle but important differences – ie sharing a product’s benefits or claims versus overt promotion, which could lead to serious breaches for you, your brand and the HCP.

First and foremost, HCP influencers are healthcare professionals and we must respect that, and when you work with them in the right way, brands can benefit enormously.

Opinion piece first seen in PRWeek.

Virgo sparks | creativity with | Go All Outside

As the UK Government encourages workers back into the office, we want our people get back outside and get inspired, not just back into the building. So today we’re launching Go All Outside, a programme designed to do just that.

Every fortnight for the next six months, two people at Virgo Health and Golin will receive an extra two days off and an expenses-paid trip of their choice with a friend or partner. The only condition is to do something that inspires their curiosity.

“Go All Outside is about helping our people to connect with the world again and inspire their curiosity. We want to encourage the team to explore new places and those they’ve missed, meet new people and connect with old friends, be inspired and inspire others,” said Ondine Whittington, Golin and Virgo Health MD.

“Curiosity and creativity is vital in the PR industry, but lockdown undoubtedly impaired our ability to nurture curiosity. Go All Outside gives our team a chance to reenergise, but also critically to find inspiration in new places and people that will inspire creativity in our work for our clients.” Whittington added.

To receive the trip team members will nominate their colleagues who are going above and beyond in their work or in their teams, acts of kindness and support, and making the agency and our work better through teaching and inspiring others.

“Lockdown has given us the opportunity to reimagine how, when and where we work, Go All Outside is part of a whole new approach to how we thrive as a team to deliver the best work of our lives for our clients. As we begin the next phase of this journey, the goal is to ensure our people feel happy, refreshed and inspired about how we come back into the world as an agency,” said Rebecca Hall, Group HR Director.

CooperVision | awards account | to Virgo Health | and IPG Team

We’re delighted to share the news that we’ve won a three-way, competitive pitch to support CooperVision with an IPG media agency and sister agency Golin. CooperVision is one of the largest manufacturers of contact lenses in the world and we’ll be working with them on a behaviour-change campaign to raise consumer awareness of myopia (short-sightedness) in children. By 2050, 50% of the global population will develop myopia, but it is manageable.

The three agencies worked as an integrated team to respond to CooperVision’s purpose-led brief, combining their expertise in consumer communications, healthcare and paid media to deliver a scalable, earned-first creative concept to drive awareness of myopia and increase enquiries about myopia management in the UK. The team also delivered an above the line brand identity and digital advertising plan for Brilliant Futures™ with MiSight® 1 day contact lenses, which are proven to slow the progression of myopia.

Golin and Virgo Health will lead earned strategy, creative, consumer public relations and influencer engagement. Reprise will support across paid social channels, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Virgo Health will also work with eye care practitioners (ECPs) to raise awareness of the campaign and further increase discussions about myopia management.

Mark Draper, Director of Marketing and National Accounts at CooperVision, said“CooperVision is committed to helping people around the world see better every day. Traditional vision correction can help children see clearly, but it can’t help to slow the progression of their myopia. That’s why we’re so proud of Brilliant Futures™ with MiSight® 1 day and the impact it can have on improving children’s lives and helping them achieve their future ambitions. The IPG team completely understood our purpose and primary ambition to increase awareness of myopia resulting in a change in behaviour. They impressed us with a fantastic pitch and killer creative concept, coupled with a smart and well-considered approach to rolling out our campaign.”

Natasha Weeks, Executive Director and Consumer Health lead, Golin and Virgo Health, said: “The CooperVision brief is the kind that truly energised and excited our team. With our integrated offering it hit our sweet spot perfectly of hard-hitting health combined with culturally-relevant consumer creativity, and we loved unpicking the insights and triggers that will ensure parents take action. At a time when maintaining public health is so essential, the whole team is passionate about the difference we can make with CooperVision. Parents wouldn’t think twice about taking their children for regular dental check-ups, and with products like Brilliant Futures™ with MiSight® 1 day that can slow the progression of myopia, children’s eye tests should be just as much a priority.”