MSD (Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp)

Driving awareness of the seriousness of pneumonia..

The Challenge

Pneumonia is the 4th largest cause of death in Japan, following cancer, heart disease and cerebrovascular disorders.

In recent years more than 100,000 people die annually of pneumonia and 95 percent of these are over 65. With the steadily aging population in Japan, this figure is expected to rise.

MSD Japan studies showed low awareness of the fact that pneumonia can be prevented. Research also indicated that people were generally not aware of the pneumococcus vaccine and combined with this was a lack of media interest in the topic. As a result, a mere 5% of those over 65 were vaccinated for pneumonia in 2009.

The Solution

Our mission was to drive awareness of the seriousness and costs of pneumonia, that it is preventable with the pneumococcus vaccine.

We established a quasi-public body made up of multiple organizations to carry out educational activities under the name of the project. We leveraged the campaign slogan "Pneumonia is Scary! Prevention is Vital!" to attract attention.

We targetted mass media to invite queries from the public to the Pneumococcus Infection Call Center, as many elderly people are not Internet savvy.

We developed a website to facilitate distribution of campaign posters, materials and leaflets at medical institutions to educate about the dangers of pneumonia and encourage vaccinations.

The Results


increase in vaccination rate


calls every month to the centre

50% +

increase in sales of Pneumovax