Flow Communications

Flow Communications won its first-ever PRISM Award on Sunday night, claiming gold in the Healthcare category for a campaign done on behalf of the South African National Blood Service (SANBS).

The Prism Awards are dedicated to outstanding achievements in the field of public relations and communications management in Southern Africa.

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Flow's Roy Barford and Edwina van der Burg with the award. (Image: Flow Communications)

South Africa has a shortage of rabies immunoglobulin – the key ingredient in the prevention of rabies. In 2016, the SANBS collected just over half the amount of the plasma it required and it anticipated a similar shortfall in 2017. The SANBS Hyperimmune Campaign developed by Flow Communications has redressed this shortfall and ensured a sustainable supply of hyperimmune plasma in the coming years.

Becoming a hyperimmune plasma donor is a complex process, as donors need to have received a rabies vaccine and their blood must have a high antibody count. Research showed that a key source of individuals who had been vaccinated, either pre- or post-exposure, was people who regularly work with animals, as vaccination is a life-saving necessity for them – and this is a rich field of potential donors.

Onderstepoort Veterinary College in Pretoria has a cohort of about 600 students – prime candidates to become donors. The challenge was to raise awareness and understanding of the issue, and ultimately to increase donations of hyperimmune plasma, which was done through engagement with the students.

Two events were held at the Onderstepoort campus where we spoke directly to the students about why they should become hyperimmune donors, and we initiated the process by having SANBS staff available to start the sign-up and testing process. At the time of entering the Prism Awards, 171 students had signed up to become VIP hyperimmune plasma donors, while the SANBS had acquired several key new partnerships as a result of the campaign, and an ongoing supply of donors has been developed.

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Photos taken during the activation at Onderstepoort.
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An example of media coverage achieved through Flow's public relations drive.

Several judges at the PRISM Awards urged agencies to set out objectives and measureable targets ahead of campaigns, and then evaluate themselves critically against these targets on conclusion of the campaign. Judges also mentioned that advertising value equivalent measurements are nowhere near as meaningful as measureable outcomes that benefit clients or their target audience.

Flow’s latest gold award joins others won at the New Generation Social & Digital Media Awards, the Loerie Awards and Cannes Lions Awards.

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Flow staff welcome the gold award to the office. (Image: Flow Communications)

Flow CEO Tara Turkington said: “We are thrilled to win a Gold PRISM for our client, the South African National Blood Service. At Flow, we especially love to work on things that make a difference, so winning a top award for such a worthy client makes it even more special.”

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