Set up in April 2020, the Independent SAGE was bred from frustration at the Government’s handling of COVID-19 and the lack of substance behind the constant messages emanating from Number 10 that they were “following the science”.
A group of 12 world leading experts was convened with the aim of ensuring the best possible scientific advice was being put into the public domain as well as the Government.
We joined the project at its inception and were tasked with creating a media presence to help grow the group’s influence as it endeavoured to ensure that the best available scientific advice was available and transparent.
To build the group’s profile as quickly as possible, we set out an ambitious media plan, amplifying regular reports in response to the ongoing pandemic. In the first six months, 26 reports led to 36 weekly media and public briefings given on YouTube and countless one-to-one interviews and bylines. The Independent SAGE quickly became an agenda-setting group during the pandemic.
The first six months saw over 8,500 pieces of coverage, 80,000 Twitter followers, 350,000 YouTube viewers and 1.5m video views on Twitter. And this publicity empowered them to drive change – from their call for the Government to release SAGE member’s names and minutes during briefings to their ‘Zero COVID’ approach being adopted by parts of the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish devolved governments.