Research type 
UK wide
Year of report 

Summary of findings


The findings from this study suggest that the Beating Cervical Cancer campaign was ultimately an effective one.

Awareness of HPV and the vaccination programme

  • Spontaneous awareness of the HPV vaccination rose between the pre-campaign and post-campaign waves. This was measured by comparing the pre-campaign and post-campaign proportions of mothers and daughters that spontaneously mentioned the HPV vaccination when asked what vaccinations they had heard of
  • There were significant increases in awareness when mothers and daughters were specifically prompted with the name of the virus
  • Between waves there was an increase in the proportion of mothers of 12- to 13-year-olds who said they knew a ‘great deal’ about the virus
  • All other audiences (12- to 13-year-olds , 14- to 18-year-olds and mothers of 14- to 18-year-olds) demonstrated a significant increase in the combined proportion saying they ‘know a great deal’ or ‘know a fair amount’ about HPV

Favourability towards the vaccination

There were no significant changes in favourability towards the vaccination across any audience between waves, however this is not surprising given the high levels of pre-campaign favourability.

During the survey mothers and daughters read a paragraph of information about HPV and another about the vaccination programme. Following these, respondents were asked how favourable or unfavourable they felt about allowing their daughters to have the vaccination, or having it themselves. Favourability here is considered just amongst those who had not been vaccinated already - the act of having the vaccination taken as an endorsement.

Supportive of this favourability, the majority of mothers have either had their daughters vaccinated or are likely to do so in the future.


As a measure of concern, mothers and daughters were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed with the statement 'I am worried about the HPV vaccination'.

  • 12- to 13-year-olds  were most likely to be worried about the vaccination at both the pre-campaign and post-campaign stage – not surprising given this audience’s tendency to worry about the pain of having the injection or to have a fear of needles
  • Among the other audiences, relatively high proportions of mothers and 14- to 18-year-olds disagreed that they were worried about the vaccination at both the pre-campaign and post-campaign stages, with no significant differences between waves
  • It was also encouraging that when mothers and daughters were asked specifically what concerns they had about the vaccination programme, mothers of 14- to 18-year-olds, daughters aged 12 to 13 and daughters aged 14 to 18 showed a significant increase in the proportion stating they had ‘no concerns’ between the pre-campaign and post-campaign stage
  • Mothers who did have concerns were most likely to mention the potential risks associated with the vaccine, with no significant change here between the waves
  • Daughters’ concerns were more closely linked to the pain of having the injection. These concerns did not appear to affect mothers’ favourability towards the HPV vaccination or likelihood to get their daughters vaccinated
  • Another key concern mentioned by all audiences at the pre-campaign stage was there is not enough information about the vaccination. The proportion mentioning this concern decreased significantly between the waves across all audiences, supporting the idea of an informative and reassuring campaign


  • Considering all communication materials together, between 59 per cent and 68 per cent of every audience spontaneously recalled at least 1 element of advertising, and between 64 per cent and 79 per cent recognised at least 1 element of the campaign when prompted with the materials
  • The same pattern (prompted recall being slightly higher than unprompted) was also generally seen for each individual element
  • Mothers and daughters correctly recalled specific aspects of the campaign, further suggesting that their initial, spontaneous recall was genuine
  • In terms of the different campaign channels, TV adverts were the most likely to be recalled and recognised by both audiences, with approximately three in five mothers and daughters doing so
  • The similarity between the spontaneous and prompted awareness figures suggests that those who said they recalled a TV ad prior to prompting had in fact been recalling the correct advertising
  • Spontaneous recall of radio ads was low among mothers of 12- to 13-year-olds , mothers of 14- to 18-year-olds and daughters aged 12 to 13, ranging from 6 per to 14 per cent, but higher among daughters aged 14 to 18, with about one-ifth of this group spontaneously recalling radio ads
  • Generally, prompted recognition of radio ads was higher than spontaneous recollection: about one-fifth of all mothers and daughters said they recognised the radio ad when it was played to them
  • After TV ads, both groups of daughters were most likely to recall and recognise poster/sticker ads, followed by online ads. Radio recall and recognition was generally lower than other channels among daughters
  • The campaign was seen positively by the vast majority of respondents; at least four in five mothers and daughters across every audience felt the elements of the campaign they had seen were informative, relevant to them and ‘good’ overall.

Research objectives


The objectives of the research were to understand the impact of the campaign in terms of:

  • Awareness of the virus and vaccination
  • Favourability towards the vaccination
  • Mothers’ and daughters’ concerns
  • Recall of and favourability towards the campaign elements
  • Message take-out from the campaign



Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer. A vaccine against HPV has been developed and a vaccination programme was introduced in the autumn of 2008 in Wales, to be mainly administered through school-based programmes on an annual basis to all girls in year 8 (aged 12 to 13). A catch-up programme for older girls was introduced in autumn 2009 to vaccinate all girls aged 14 ti 18.

As with the introduction of any new vaccine, there can be some concerns among the public about its safety and necessity. The HPV vaccination attracted additional controversy due to HPV being sexually transmitted, leading some to question why the vaccination needed to be administered so young.

To counteract any negative publicity in the press and to reassure mothers and daughters about the safety of the vaccine, the Beating Cervical Cancer campaign was launched in September 2008. The campaign was introduced prior to the introduction of the vaccination programme to inform and reassure, in order to maximise take-up of the vaccine.

The annual campaign activity was repeated in late 2009 and early 2010. The 2009/10 campaign included elements aimed at girls (aged 12 to 18) and their mothers. TV and radio advertising was aimed at girls and their mothers, while the posters and stickers in changing rooms and online advertising were aimed predominantly at girls. This was the first time that older girls (aged 14 to 18) and their mothers had been included as primary campaign targets.

Quick summary


Research was commissioned to assess the effectiveness of the human papillomavirus (HPV) Wales campaign. Overall the campaign was effective in terms of awareness and recognition amongst all audiences. Considering all communication materials together, between 59 per cent and 68 per cent of every audience spontaneously recalled at least 1element of advertising, and between 64 per cent and 79 per cent recognised at least 1element of the campaign when prompted with the materials. The campaign was seen positively by the vast majority of respondents; at least four in five mothers and daughters across every audience felt the elements of the campaign they had seen were informative, relevant to them and ‘good’ overall.

Audience Summary







  • Girls aged 12 to 13 and their mothers
  • Girls aged 14 to 18 and their mothers

Social Class






A random stratified sampling methodology was employed during fieldwork: about 30 postcode areas were selected to be representative of Wales as a whole in terms of geographical spread and social grading, with interviewers going door to door within each of these areas.

Minimum quotas were set for single-parent families (25 per cent), socioeconomic groups C2, D and E (total 25 per cent) and Christian households (25 per cent).

Due to the potentially sensitive nature of the topic, the adult answering the door was given a letter that outlined the details of the interview, the involvement of the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) in the study and provided contact details for WAG and IFF should the parent wish to seek additional information.

If the household contained a girl of the relevant age, and if mother and daughter were happy to take part, interviewers conducted a face-to-face, quantitative interview first with the mother (if possible without the daughter present to prevent the mother’s views influencing her daughter’s answers), then with the daughter (with the mother present throughout).

Interviews lasted about 12 minutes at the pre-campaign stage and about 15 minutes at the post-campaign stage.

If respondents wished, interviews could be conducted in Welsh, with Welsh versions of campaign materials used as prompts at the post-campaign stage. However there was no demand for this.

Mothers were targeted rather than fathers as previous research showed mothers were the primary decision maker with regards vaccinations. Where a girl’s main carer was her father, he was approached for interview in the same way, although this did not occur frequently (between three and nine fathers were interviewed at each wave). For simplicity’s sake the carer of the girl interviewed is referred to as the ‘mother’.

Data collection methodology


Sample size


The following numbers of mothers and daughters were interviewed at each stage:

  • Mothers of 12- to 13-year-olds: Pre-wave=109, post-wave=100
  • Daughters aged 12 to 13: Pre-wave=109, post-wave=100
  • Mothers of 14- to 18-year-olds: Pre-wave=105, post-wave=111
  • Daughters aged 14 to 18: Pre-wave=105, post-wave=111

Fieldwork dates


Pre-campaign: 10 August to 7 September 2009; Post-campaign: 8 February to 8 March 2010

Agree to publish





This report is classified as sensitive as it deals with vulnerable young people

Research agency

IFF Research

COI Number


Report format