“The Fifth Guy” is a sophisticated and highly entertaining social marketing campaign. Its message is based on two concepts: 1) Low interest in pandemic flu would undermine audience receptivity to campaigns about an influenza pandemic, and 2) Enhancing basic hand and respiratory hygiene is a valuable, pandemic-relevant lesson that people would absorb today. The campaign rests on the data that four out of five people wash their hands, which led to the creation of the character “The Fifth Guy.” Viewers can feel disgusted by his slovenly behavior and watch co-workers struggle to cope with The Fifth Guy in television spots, radio promotions, and on The Fifth Guy’s MySpace page.
The campaign is noteworthy because it uses humor to reinforce healthy behaviors that could reduce the impact of respiratory infections. Included among the humorous materials are useful items such as: a grocery stockpile list; criteria for staying home from work; suggestions on how to create a workplace environment where sick employees stay home; and tips on how to cope with the flu. A report evaluating the impact of the campaign is also included.
Copyright notice: The Florida Department of Health welcomes others to share the Fifth Guy materials but users must agree not to change the content and to preserve the Florida Department of Health’s name and logo on all materials as the authoring agency.