Merck and Klick Health

Versed on HPV

Young people aged 15-24 are notoriously hard to reach. But because they account for nearly half of the 14 million new HPV infections each year, Merck knew it needed an original and unexpected way to talk with them. Most of the time, HPV clears on its own. But if it doesn’t, it can lead to certain cancers and diseases. 

The campaign’s objective is to raise awareness around the potential cancer-causing effects of HPV and inform a generation how to protect themselves. 

The Versed on HPV effort forgoes the usual brochures, banners and PSAs, instead curating original art, music and events, all with a strong message: HPV can lead to certain cancers — protect yourself by talking to your doctor. 

Inspired by a streetwear marketing approach rather than a typical healthcare playbook, the campaign relies exclusively on Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat. Instead of billboards, it uses hand-painted murals and campus walls. It’s not on the radio, but at music festivals. And to show how little most people in the target audience know about it, it used a YouTube series of man on the street videos.

The campaign kicked off a massive mural in Brooklyn. And in a pop-up stunt at the tail-end of New York Fashion Week, it featured models in Versed on HPV gear. 

In just a year, the campaign delivered 3.8 million Snapchat swipe ups, 374 million Instagram impressions, 276 million YouTube video views and 4.9 million unique visitors to its website. It reached 133% of its awareness-raising goal.