South Dakota Department of Health

The Flu is Scary
The Idea

The Flu is Scary

The flu is serious business. But after learning that the last thing people want is “a shot,” we took a more lighthearted approach. The face of the influenza campaign became a disheveled but loveable character called “Flu Bug,” who developed a cult-like following over the years. He appeared everywhere and we even took him on statewide tours to spread awareness. The results have been amazing as many states now look to South Dakota as the benchmark of effectiveness in flu prevention.

South Dakota Department of Health

Case Study

The Challenge

South Dakota was experiencing a particularly rough flu season in 2009, with more than 2,000 confirmed cases thanks in part to the H1N1 pandemic. The Department of Health needed to turn it around by increasing vaccination awareness.

The Goal

Increase influenza vaccinations across the state, including rates among healthcare workers, adults and senior citizens, and promote free vaccines for children.

The Results


South Dakota reached a 57.4% vaccination rate in one recent year, ranking No. 1 among all states


Number of flu cases in South Dakota fell by 69% in just four years


Facebook fans grew from 0 to more than 4,000


Vaccination of children in South Dakota rose 15% in five years