Fitness First launched its new brand

Challenge:  In 2012, not-for-profit organisation febfast engaged Ogilvy PR to raise awareness and drive participation in the 2013 febfast campaign which encourages people to give up alcohol for a month and raise money to support young Australians affected by drug and alcohol issues.

Given the extreme media fatigue around thematic months such as Facebook Free February, not to mention other dry months such as Dry July and Ocsober, we faced a number of challenges in promoting the cause. Furthermore, investigation by febfast suggested that although many people actually participated in febfast, they did so unofficially and without registering.  In addition to media fatigue and converting unofficial participants, previous campaigns indicated that there was only a very small window of opportunity to drive a large amount of registrations. With Australia Day marking the end of the silly season, a majority of Australians would not consider signing up until after the festivities, leaving only 5 days to drive registrations before February.

Furthermore, on the day of our official launch, the floods in Queensland had reached a crisis point and only a few days later, Julia Gillard announced to the nation the election date, both of which dominated media coverage nationally.

Strategy:  Our strategy ensured continuous and consistent coverage throughout the month of January leading up to the official national launch of febfast on the 28th, allowing us to capitalise on the nation’s collective Australia Day long weekend hangover and to leverage the small window of opportunity we had to drive a high number of registrations.

We surveyed over 1000 Australians on their attitudes towards drinking and their favourite and strangest hangover cures. As part of a two-pronged approach we released statistics regarding generational attitudes to drinking and Australia Day prior to the long weekend and then officially launched on the 28th releasing Australia’s favourite and strangest hangover cures.

Results:  The campaign continues until the end of February, with participants still able to register and also the launch of ‘half-arsed febfast’ a 14 day version of the 28 day challenge.

To date, a total of 278 pieces of coverage have appeared locally and nationally through radio, print, TV and online.

Fitness First Australia launches The Zone

Challenge: Fitness First is one of the largest health club groups in the world with more than 342 Fitness First clubs worldwide, and more than one million members across 15 countries. In Australia, Fitness First has 78 clubs with approximately 240,000 members.

Since Fitness First began operating in Australia back in 2000, the fitness landscape has changed significantly.  The brand has faced a number of challenges in the wake of the changing environment, from the rise of 24/7 gyms and expanding operator locations, to increased competition on price, all the while battling against its tarnished reputation.

In 2012, the company was acquired by Oaktree Capital Management and underwent a major restructure which saw it exit a number of gyms from its portfolio, enabling it to invest significantly in overhauling every facet of its operations and embark on a significant journey of change.

In early 2013, Fitness First partnered with Ogilvy PR Health to help the company on its journey of change and re-build the company’s reputation and standing as the industry leader in fitness.

The first tangible evidence of change was the launch of a new concept gym in the heart of Sydney’s CBD called The Zone. A world-first innovation based on the principles of dynamic movement training, The Zone offers six distinct ‘zones’ for small group training – each created by Fitness First, with more than 95 classes running a day for members.

Strategy: The launch of The Zone not only provided an opportunity to bring to life the company’s philosophy of motivation, fitness expertise, and the idea that ‘machines don’t motivate people, people motivate people’, but also showcased its serious commitment to invest in change and deliver real benefit back to members.

To communicate this, Ogilvy PR Health held an exclusive preview event like no other, inviting leading lifestyle, health and fitness media and influencers, as well as representatives from a number of leading training institutes and equipment suppliers, to be the first ever to train in The Zone.

The launch was the first time that Fitness First had proactively engaged with media in many years and on the night, Managing Director Pete Manuel bravely stood before the assembled media and declared that the brand had “not always got it right” but that the company was listening and was on a journey of change.

Special guest speaker, former Olympian Geoff Huegill, was a media drawcard and spoke of the role that Fitness First played in his training.

After the event, and with the ‘buzz’ still building about The Zone, Ogilvy continued to engage with influential media, inviting groups of colleagues from media outlets to come for a tour and workout at one of the six unique ‘zones’.

Results: More than 40 media and influencers attended the launch resulting in more than 80 pieces of coverage and reaching an estimated audience of more than 576,779 people.

More importantly, engaging with media en masse provided an opportunity for Fitness First to foster relationships with key journalists and start to rebuild its position as the fitness expert and ‘go-to’ for media.

For more on The Zone visit:

National Asthma Council Australia

Challenge: More than two million Australians have asthma. Despite its prevalence, myths and misconceptions about asthma still abound and hundreds of Australians needlessly die from asthma each year. Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be managed. The National Asthma Council Australia has an ongoing need to keep asthma high on the public agenda in order to improve the life and health outcomes of people with asthma and their carers.

Insights: Asthma is of concern to all Australians. Every Australian either has the condition or they care about someone who suffers from asthma. Most Australians are therefore receptive to asthma-related messages when they appear in the mass media.

The changing nature of asthma triggers throughout the year provides a regular calendar of potential touch points to engage with, and educate, the media who in turn act as a conduit to relay timely messages to the wider community.

Campaign: Recognising the relevance and topicality of asthma, Ogilvy Public Relations Melbourne developed an ongoing media relations strategy to keep credible asthma messages in the media year round, harnessing changing seasonal triggers and providing journalists with ‘one stop’ access to Australia’s leading asthma experts.

This press office function has been undertaken by Ogilvy PR Melbourne consultants for over eight years, effectively reinforcing the Council’s position as the peak asthma body in Australia and a valuable and reliable resource for media.

Activities include health reporter liaison (consumer and medical press), development of sponsorship guidelines, media training and crisis management, as well as implementation of an annual media program designed to generate widespread grassroots awareness with angles ranging from ‘soft’ stories such as a ‘Spring Survival Guide’ for allergy sufferers and ‘Christmas Tree Asthma Trigger Alert’ to ‘hard news’ such as releasing the annual asthma death toll statistics.

The consumer media relations program is supported with an ongoing health professionals program, ensuring that health professionals who treat patients with asthma are up to date on the latest patient information and resources.

Results: Quality reporting of asthma in the consumer media keeps asthma top of mind in the community, it has reinforced the fact that we need to continue to take asthma seriously and it has increased understanding of the condition, its triggers and its management.

Media relations activities for the National Asthma Council Australia have also helped heighten political awareness of asthma and proved to be a key plank in the Council’s successful lobbying to have asthma made a National Health Priority Area.

The National Asthma Council’s press office is now the first port of call for medical journalists seeking local comment on any new asthma initiative including new research findings.

Ogilvy PR Melbourne Measure’s Up with The Department of Health and Ageing

Challenge: The Measure Up social marketing campaign aims to promote good health outcomes through the prevention and early detection of avoidable chronic diseases. The initial advertising campaign worked to raise awareness of the link between an increased waist circumference and chronic disease – but many Australians lacked the information and tools needed to help them take positive action. The challenge for Phase Two of the campaign was to provide at-risk Australians with the ‘How’ message prompting involvement and action, especially in harder to reach communities young women 20-35yrs, people in regional communities and socially disadvantaged groups.

Insight: Body image, fitness and weight are very personal subjects – lecturing is ineffective. Real inspiration needs to come from personal key influencers as well as real Aussies with real life stories in the real language spoken on the street and in the regions. By harnessing the power of grassroots communication, it is possible to engage, empower and encourage fellow Aussies to Measure Up.

Campaign: To help communicate the important ‘How’ message, Ogilvy PR Melbourne took a two phase approach: A) engaging with health practitioners and providing them with important resources to help them champion the cause with patients; and B) making the messages as accessible as possible to the target audience.

General Practitioners received an early ‘heads up’ prior to the national campaign launch via a Medical Media campaign which saw background information displayed in GP staff rooms nationally. This tactic ensured that key influencers were well briefed and able to reinforce campaign messages once the advertising campaign commenced. Support patient information resources were also provided to health practitioners with a suite of additional ‘how’ materials also developed.

To tap into the critical regional audience, Ogilvy PR Melbourne created the ‘Country Pantry’ series of ‘how to’ food and nutrition fact sheets to provide families with real tips and ideas in the language they speak at home.

Recognising that inspiring, real life stories were fundamental to encourage other Australians to take action, Ogilvy PR Melbourne produced three online videos, showcasing down to earth real life success stories, allowing a metro family, a regional family and a community group to share their inspiring stories in their own words online. Online support for the campaign grew in conjunction with the growth of the campaign and availability of new in-line support tools, which were featured on a revamped campaign website.

Results: GPs ranked the Measure Up Medical Media social marketing campaign as one of the most memorable and valuable campaigns in 2010. Research has shown high awareness for the campaign and the waist circumference message and confirmed the consultancy’s positioning of just making small changes to make a big difference. Additionally the website revamp has boosted consumer engagement and interaction allowing more real Aussies to download practical resources, such as the Country Pantry fact sheet series, share tips and inspire each other to keep their waistlines in check.

DonateLife: To donate life, discuss it today – OK

Challenge: Over 1,700 Australians are on the official organ and tissue transplant waiting list[1] – many will die waiting. Despite widespread public support, Australia’s family consent rate for organ and tissue donation to proceed is just 56%. A six-week advertising campaign ‘To donate life, discuss it today – OK’ was aimed at increasing the number of Australians who have discussed their organ donation wishes with their loved ones. Our challenge was to provide opportunities to deepen the discussion and get the community talking about the issue. We needed to reinforce the advertising campaign’s call to action.

Insight: Experience showed us that using donor families to tell their story was a powerful vehicle for motivating people to think about organ donation and then have a conversation with their families. Case studies also provided strong media interest. Therefore opportunities were created for Australians to share their stories online and in traditional media and at a grassroots level. Our approach was that mass media plus community outreach would result in many more discussions.

Campaign: The campaign was launched by the former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with a high profile donor family representative being widely featured in the media. Stakeholder briefings were held and community leaders were sent “call to action” kits to extend the campaign’s reach and encourage their involvement. Talk programs on radio and TV were targeted as were media doctors.

A social media campaign was implemented to dovetail with the mainstream advertising campaign and media relations initiatives. It provided the opportunity for real people to have discussions online, creating a burgeoning online DonateLife community. The campaign involved education and engagement strategies working across federal government agencies, state health departments and local governments.

Results: Campaign results included levels of family discussion increasing by 10%, of which 83% were rated by respondents as memorable conversations. Knowledge of family member’s wishes increased by 7%. Over 32,000,000 Australians were reached via extensive print, broadcast and online media publicity during the campaign. Social media activity was very successful with Facebook fans increasing 1,080 per cent during the campaign. DonateLife Twitter followers increased by 50% during the campaign period. Ninety five events promoted the campaign  and supporting activities were implemented by local councils, schools, GPs, hospitals and medical centres and Rotary, Lions and Probus groups.

[1] Australian and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry –

Ogilvy PR Health works with Australian Pompe’s Association

December 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Case studies, Featured, Genzyme, Healthcare

How 2,000 Sydneysiders had a “big breakfast” and learnt about the importance of iodine for thyroid health…

Ok, we get that thyroid health isn’t actually a dinner party conversation piece, but in 2009 Ogilvy PR Health proudly partnered with the Australian Thyroid Foundation, Australia’s peak advocacy group for people with thyroid disorders to put dietary iodine and good thyroid health on the map.

The Big Breakfast is an awareness and fund raising public relations initiative for the Australian Thyroid Foundation that is held annually at Martin Place on the morning of 27 October.

Ogilvy PR Health’s goal was to further enhance the profile of the Australian Thyroid Foundation as the leading advocacy and support organisation for people with thyroid conditions, while positioning the organisation as the number one source of information on thyroid disease.

The public relations objective, to raise awareness about the importance of dietary iodine for good thyroid health and to raise funds for the Australian Thyroid Foundation, was achieved with the help of celebrity chefs Manu Feildel and Dominique Rizzo, who kindly dedicated their time and resources to cook a healthy, iodine-rich breakfast for over 2,000 Sydneysiders who arrived at the Big Breakfast.

Beverley Garside, president of the Australian Thyroid Foundation and Professor Cresswell Eastman, Chief Medical Advisor for the Australian Thyroid Foundation, chaired the event and educated the public about iodine enriched foods such as eggs, seafood and bread and the importance of a sufficient dietary intake of iodine to support healthy thyroid function.

For a gold coin donation, people from Sydney could treat themselves to breakfast cooked by the fabulous chefs and to free thyroid and iodine information from a team of dedicated volunteers who spoke to the public about thyroid health.

With record funds raised for the Australian Thyroid Foundation, it was not just the media and the fundraising that achieved its goals – but importantly what was in the breakfast that started the day for 2,000 Sydneysiders that helped to encourage good thyroid health.

Examples of iodine-rich foods include:

  • Bread
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Iodised salt
  • Plants grown in iodine-rich soil

Find out more at

A landmark decision for men’s health in Australia

November 1, 2007 by  
Filed under Case studies, Taxotere

TaxotereTaxotere® (docetaxel) is the only therapy proven to extend and improve quality of life for men with late stage prostate cancer, a disease which claims the lives of more than 2,900 Australian men each year.
In fact, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australian men, and the second leading cause of male cancer deaths annually.
Internationally renowned as the ‘gold standard’ for treating late stage prostate cancer, Taxotere required Government funding on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Ogilvy PR Health was hired by sanofi-aventis in Australia to help manage public relations for the prostate cancer chemotherapy Taxotere, including media management, political advocacy, third party and stakeholder relations.


Our objective was to achieve a positive recommendation by the Government’s expert advisory committee to list Taxotere on the PBS and an expedited Cabinet approval.


The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) which assesses the efficacy of drugs had twice rejected Taxotere for prostate cancer on the basis of cost effectiveness.
Taxotere was already listed on the PBS to treat breast, ovarian and non-small cell lung cancer.
Faced with the prospect of a third rejection, Ogilvy PR Health needed a fresh angle to persuade Government decision makers about the need to fund this important therapy.
Anecdotally we knew men were poor advocates for their own health.

Creative idea

Our creative approach was to leverage women who were concerned about their male partner’s health to lobby the Government in favour of listing Taxotere on the PBS.  OPRH selected women of influence and public profile women to lobby the government.


The campaign involved commissioning Newspoll to find out if our insight was correct and that men were poor advocates for their own health.
The results borne this out showing in a majority of cases men only visited the doctor after being encouraged to do so by a wife, partner or sister
Armed with this knowledge we set about ensuring women of influence and public profile were briefed on the issue and able to lobby the Government in favour of listing Taxotere on the PBS.


In July 2007 the PBAC recommended Taxotere be listed on the PBS for men with late stage prostate cancer. Then to coincide with the PCFA Father’s Day 5 fun run the Minister for Health Tony Abbott announced Taxotere would be listed on the PBS from 1 November 2007.
The decision means an additional 1,200 men will have access to Taxotere in the first year of listing, and will no longer have to pay up to $18,000 for a course of treatment.