Raising awareness of the dangers of HPV

3 out of every 4 Canadian women will contract an HPV at some point in their lifetime, which is the number one contributing factor to the development of Cervical Cancer. However, while the majority of women (91%) are aware of the dangers of HPV, only 25% of Canadian women believe that they are actually at risk of contracting HPV - the truth is, HPV can affect anyone who is sexually active. As the distributor of the most effective vaccination against HPV (Gardasil 9), Merck wanted to raise awareness of the risks to Canadian women that they may already be carrying HPV without even realizing it and the only way to truly protect themselves was to get screened and potentially get vaccinated.


To engage with Canadian women around the issue and encourage them to take action, we developed an unbranded campaign with custom content and tactics created specifically for clearly identified segments of our target audience.


Single Women 23-45

In a collaborative effort between insights, media, and creative we developed values-based segmentation to better understand the motivations and beliefs of single Canadian women; evaluating the broader population based on ambition/career, family and social dynamics, consumption, and views on health and sexuality. Through this, four personas were identified for creative and media targeting.


Though all sexually active women are at risk, not all women are the same and shouldn’t be communicated with using the same message.

Creative Territory

The content was built around the creative notion of “You don’t always know” and focused on the fact that women may contract HPV and never know about it, like they may not notice other things in their day-to-day life. A humorous series of short films brought this concept to life showcasing a series of fictional women going about their day completely oblivious of an awkwardly embarrassing situation that was happening to them.

Merck Canada's Take on Cervical Cancer Campaign- Spinach EN

An interactive quiz allowed women to learn about the facts in a fun and informative way.

Influencer content carried the concept further on social channels as real ambassadors created their own “You don’t always know” videos. And a slew of digital display banners drew women into the conversation with light hearted messaging around other very personal and relatable situations woman may not be aware of.

Media Strategy

Segmented and Contextual - A purely digital play, the approach to media was to leverage personalized communication for each identified target (segmented) by continually reminding them through places they go and sites reflecting their interests (contextual). The goal was to drive them to the Take on Cervical Cancer or Gardasil 9 sites to take action.

With four unique segments and numerous contextual environments, a test-learn-optimize approach would be key to campaign success.


Compared to previous campaigns, we outperformed previous agency benchmarks in terms of value (CPM - Cost per Thousand Impressions), efficiency (CPC - Cost per Click) and results (clicks). Throughout the campaign (still in market) we delivered 154 million impressions, 500,000 clicks, and 8,250,000 video completions. 

As a result of the segmentation strategy, smart media targeting and creative execution, performance was so strong that Google took notice and asked for the secret to the campaign success. 

“Hey, Can you tell us what you’re doing... a VTR (View Through Rate)  of 45% and a CPV (Cost per Views) of $0.02 is pretty impressive for a medical/pharma video”   —Google Canada Representative

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