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  • University Research Co. LLC

The Task:

Cut through the public health information overload and teach important TB prevention messages to rural and peri-urban South Africans.



Our Role:

Make Tuberculosis interesting and relevant in a world overloaded with HIV prevention messages.

The journey began with a quick dive incubation to reveal how and why South African attitudes towards TB have evolved. The incubation process revealed that facts had traditionally been presented in a Western world paradigm; changing behaviours would immediately benefit from cultural integration of sociological and anthropological insights.

We Beat TB! launches a message of collective positivity; THIS is the one you can beat! Simple facts become memorable because they are presented visually—brought to life through “African style” cartoon (live actors dressed as cartoon characters on a 2-D stage).

The style of the multi-media campaign was inspired by the need to be equally impactful in community-based interactions. A portable stage with “African cartoon characters” visually deliver basic simple messages that illustrate community involvement and support for treatment adherence, TB/HIV, testing and infection control. Most importantly, the look and feel of the campaign is as distinctive and highly appealing in real life as it is in mass media.

The integrated multi-media campaign was developed in 9 South African languages and supported non-traditional mixed-use media like Playpumps (playground roundabouts that double as water pumps with billboards on water -tower tanks) and Lapdesks (portable lap desks for resource poor schools without desks).


The campaign was officially adopted as the national TB campaign by the South African Dept. of Health from 2011 onwards and featured prominently at SA AIDS 2012.

Post exposure analysis from the 2012 South African National Communications Survey confirms the effectiveness of the messaging.

What the client saw:

  • 10:1 Amplification of Fundors $$$ to Audience Impact via Application of Innovation Incubation Process
  • Measurable Growth in Prevention and Treatment Communications Messages
  • Innovative Campaign Style Appealing to Broad Audience Demographic
  • Innovation Expansion into Peer to Peer Communication Design

What Matchboxology saw:

  • Behaviour Change Barriers needing Video Ethnographic Exploration
  • Growing Audience Misperceptions versus Medical Truths
  • Communications Gaps in How Treatment Time and Techniques Were Communicated
  • The need for evidence-based strategic thinking with highly creative design innovation


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