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Taking antimicrobial resistance seriously

Creative, awareness-building campaign to meet the challenge of antibiotic resistance. Our insight showed awareness level was low and that education would be the key to behaviour change.

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Antibiotic Resistance is not a new phenomena but a global threat that has developed over years. It threatens to become a silent pandemic which will send all of our medical advancements back decades, unless we start to take antibiotics seriously.

Because of our overuse and reliance on antibiotics for non-life threatening infections we could be facing a world where antibiotics no longer work and simple everyday infections become life-threatening. The campaign is recognition that it is time to take antibiotics resistance seriously.

May 2021

NHS Leeds

Scope of work

  • Brand development & visual identity
  • Campaign development & activation
  • Co-production, engagement and community representation
  • Creative messaging and copywriting
  • Training and consultancy
  • UX and website development

What we did

The Seriously campaign was developed with the NHS Leeds CCG in 2016 to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance and appropriate use of prescribed treatments, specifically targeting university students.

With continued investment the campaign has grown and developed year on year. Co-created and tested with communities across Leeds, Sunderland and County Durham, it has evolved to the campaign we have today. Seriously is now a movement to change the way individuals view antibiotic treatment and empower healthcare professionals to promote the alternatives and support patients with self care.

We initially developed the ‘Seriously’ brand name to emphasise the tone of the campaign. Insight taught us that our audience felt the idea of superbugs and the issue being such a huge global threat was a lot to comprehend. The ‘Seriously’ brand reinforces the fact that although some of the campaign key messages sound almost out of this world, they are indeed very real, and that people should stand up and take notice.

We set out to create a campaign that was bold, attention-grabbing and that would create a talking point. In order to achieve this we created a simple campaign identity with just two colours and a clear, bold font, with a number of slight typographic twists to reinforce the messages.

As the campaign grew, alongside maintaining the overarching campaign visual style and core message, local roll out was tailored to support each location with their antimicrobial resistance communications. Working with local CCGs we sought to understand the target audience in each individual area, enabling us to create hyper-local, hyper-targeted campaigns. The localised campaigns were grounded in behavioural science and guided by data and insight. They were designed to fit with their people and their place, focusing on the behaviours that can have the biggest impact on the appropriate use of antibiotic treatment.

Campaign impact

We’ve built a movement to stop antibiotic resistance. Individuals, doctors, pharmacists and teachers are joining forces to keep antibiotics working.


Over 33,000 pledges for the Seriously campaign so far: 24,000 Leeds, 8,248 Sunderland, 1,650 South Tyneside


NHS Sunderland CCG launched the first antibiotic online event for schools. Beat it! #GermFest 2020 engaged over 100 schools across the UK and beyond.


NHS Leeds CCG saw a reduction in prescribing rates from 1.256 items / STAR-PU to 0.951, meeting Quality Premium targets at that time. NHS Leeds CCG continues to be one of the lowest prescribing CCG’s in the West Yorkshire and Harrogate region.


“The event on Briggate was a success, a huge thanks to Magpie for pulling this off. We’ve had some great feedback from health professionals who like how we are engaging with members of the public.”

Natasha Noor
Communications Officer
NHS Leeds West CCG

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