DDB Brussels Attempts to Stop People from Googling Medical Symptoms

By Erik Oster 

Belgium’s Flemish government recently commissioned DDB Brussels to come up with a way to get people to stop googling their medical symptoms, leading to myriad, and potentially harmful, (self) misdiagnoses.

The agency came up with a pretty intriguing solution, buying Google Adwords for the top 100 searched symptoms and directing searchers to the Gezondheid en Wetenschap (Health and Science) website through a message stating, “Don’t Google it, check a reliable source.” They also made a promotional clip (featured above) for the campaign, introducing the issue of the perils of self-diagnosing via Google search. “I have a deadly disease, and I’m going to die in six weeks,” says a man with a solemn expression on his face. Suddenly, though, his expression relaxes and he adds, “Or at least that’s what I thought when I used Google to diagnose my twitching eyelid.” It’s a good way to get your attention, using the most dire of scenarios to draw attention to the ineffectiveness of using a tool like Google for self diagnosis, as 75 percent of the population does. Since, on the Internet, “anyone can be a doctor,” the video states, you’re likely to find the wrong solution, which can potentially make things worse (as it illustrates through comic exaggeration). It’s a clever campaign, and by placing the information in the right place at the right time, DDB Brussels just may help change people’s behavior.



lient: Gezondheid en Wetenschap
Campaign: “Don’t Google It”
Clients: Marleen Finoulst, Elizabeth Bosselaers, Patrick Vankrunkelsven
Agency: DDB Brussels
Creative Director: Peter Ampe
Creative Team: Tim Arts, Stefan van den Boogaard
Head of Digital: Geert Desager
Strategic Planner: Maarten Van Daele
Senior Account Manager: Silvie Erzeel
Television Producer: Brigitte Verduyckt
Digital Producers: Stefanie Warreyn, Maarten Breda
Web Developer: Christophe Gesquière
Design: Andreea Buescu, Cedric Lopez
Content Planner: Michael D’hooge
Production Company: Lovo
Director: Norman Bates
Producers: Bert Brulez, François Chandelle