Big Cat


Let's talk about sex, baby.

The Brief

We created an OOH campaign for regional sexual health service, Umbrella to raise awareness of their STI self-sampling kits in the Birmingham area. A brilliant service enabling people to self-sample for STIs in the comfort of their own home, post the kit back and receive their results by phone or text.

Turning instinct into action

Our research demonstrated that talking about sexual health openly is a key part in reducing the spread of STIs. A campaign that people would talk to their mates about without feeling embarrassed would help spread the message. We also know a few things from behavioural science. Firstly, that our brains are efficiency machines – sorting, categorising and filing information into groups. That’s why we notice things that stand out. Secondly, we like laughing. It releases feel-good endorphins. And finally, familiarity humour can be highly effective in gaining attention and adding in a bit of regional relevance could help to increase engagement with the local audience.

Partnering with University of Birmingham’s EMMA (Exploring Multimodal Metaphor in Advertising) department we investigated the effectiveness of the creative language and figurative messaging in the campaign.

Working with Big Cat and Umbrella was very exciting in terms of applying metaphor research to word play and innuendo, and quite amusing too. We tested two different concepts for a campaign to run for non-profit organisation Umbrella. The results showed that the campaign using word play for local landmarks in Birmingham strongly resonated with regional participants.

Samantha Ford, Research Associate for EMMA


The campaign ran for the first two weeks of July on high-dwell or big-impact outdoor media across Birmingham. The OOH ads gained a reach of 1,991,520 in that time. It created a bit of light-hearted fun that grabbed people’s attention – something that came through in the reactions when Birmingham Updates shared the campaign on Facebook. Love it or hate it, people saw it, leading to a substantial spike in web traffic and helping to increase Umbrella’s brand awareness with the public.

50% increase
In kit orders compared to previous months
Peak number
Or kits ever ordered


Getting people talking about sex through innuendo and metaphor.

Umbrella’s brilliant sexual health service lets people test for STIs in the comfort of their own home. But talking about sex and STIs is embarrassing and people were reluctant to take up the offer. Umbrella needed to raise awareness and increase the uptake of their kits.

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Big Cat