‘You have a choice’

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board

You have a choice

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How behavioural science helped decrease COVID-19 anti-lockdown sentiment and hesitancy

The brief

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in south Wales, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board and their partners needed to increase the take-up of protective behaviours and directly combat vaccine hesitancy among residents.  To do this, we needed to segment and prioritise audiences across COVID-19 hotspots, followed by launching into an engaging, behaviourally-driven campaign. 

This campaign to engage needed to: 

  • Reach a minimum 331,200 residents across three target boroughs of Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, and Rhondda Cynon Taff
  • Secure an engagement rate of at least 1.5% amongst priority residents 
  • Direct at least 5,000 users to the campaign microsite over the campaign
  • Increase support of public health institutions and decrease vaccine hesitancy and anti-lockdown sentiment, based on pre-campaign baselines


The Lynn Approach

To understand the fast-changing context, we conducted primary research and quantitative experiments to better grasp the behavioural barriers faced by our audiences, and how to combat them effectively. Wrapped up in a detailed Behavioural Diagnostic, we highlighted some of the key barriers to behaviour change:

  1. Optimism bias – “I am at less risk than others of contracting COVID-19″
  2. Desire for smaller rewards now (such as immediate freedom) vs. long-term benefits
  3. Reverse altruism – “Why should I help people I do not know?”
  4. May not see others in their community taking up the behaviour (social norms)
  5. Confirmation bias, where we are drawn to evidence that supports our existing view


The #YouHaveAChoice campaign put the onus on individuals to highlight how their own behaviours make a big difference. By positively highlighting how people still have the freedom they desire and it is in their hands how quickly we return to ‘normal’, the You Have a Choice campaign created a space for individuals to reflect on their choices and commit to better behaviours.  

We created engaging digital assets which were tested in randomised control trials to highly segmented audiences across the target boroughs. This included hyperlocal geo, age, and ethnicity targeting to deliver the right message to the right person, at the right time. ​​

The campaign was delivered across multiple digital channels and amplified via partners and stakeholders. 

It was augmented by media relations and local influencer amplification.​

The Lynn Impact

The results exceeded expectations demonstrating the power of behavioural science to reach and engage audiences.

In four weeks we:

  • Reached 293k residents (0.86x KPI), generating 4.5M impressions
  • Secured a 9.97% engagement rate (6.5x KPI; 19x sector average)
  • Received over 574,000 views of our campaign video 
  • Drove over 18,000 to the campaign landing page (4x KPI), generating 17,800 sessions 

But most importantly…

  • -2% decrease in COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy and anti-lockdown sentiment
  • +3% increase in willingness to engage with public health instructions 
  • 93.3% positive sentiment analysis with digital content