At Work: Communications - Medium and message

Indira Das-Gupta

BackCare's first adolescent back pain awareness campaign is using hard-hitting images on Tube posters.

BackCare chose to advertise its first awareness campaign about adolescent back pain on the London Underground at the end of last month to get the message over to a large potential audience. Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London and honorary vice president of the charity, donated two weeks' of advertising space, which will end on Friday, for the 250 posters.

"A lot of people stand on Tube platforms waiting for trains and have not got much else to do other than look at the posters on the walls," says Dorrie Willis, campaigns manager at BackCare.

"We will have a captive audience, and the sheer volume of people passing through means we will reach a wide cross-section."

BackCare has been concerned about the issue for some time and set up the School Back Pain Group to look at ways of tackling it. The group, chaired by spinal surgeon Alan Gardener, recommended a high-profile campaign.

"People think of back pain as an adult problem, but it's affecting more and more children," says Williams. "This is exacerbated by factors such as sedentary lifestyles, inappropriate chairs at schools and a lack of lockers, which means children are having to carry all their books around."

The artwork for the poster was created by Teddington School after BackCare invited it to run a competition. Willis says: "We think it's a modern, hard-hitting image that will engage both children and students as well as carers."

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