The worldwide Coronavirus pandemic has brought about a series of firsts for us all. Our first time having limited access to the outside world. Our first time being forced to interact with friends and family through a screen. Our first time being furloughed.
Furloughed – we’d never heard of it either. For the first time in our lifetimes we have been confronted with time to sit, think and put our lives on pause.
Unfortunately, switching socialising for social distancing has had a huge impact on the UK’s mental health. During lockdown, the reported that a third of UK adults felt they hadn’t had a meaningful conversation within the last week. A staggering 44% told the Mental Health Foundation they were feeling lonely.
Thankfully, there are support systems for those who are struggling. Over the past 3 years we’ve had close ties to Samaritans, a charity set up to offer support to those in need by listening and exploring feelings with callers who are in distress. But – with volunteers self-isolating and call volumes increasing – they were feeling the pressure.
With a listening volunteer on the team we were able to see the difficulty unfold as it happened. So we reached out to our friends at the Brighton branch to try and do something about it. We set out to create a campaign video to drive donations to help make their call centres safer, allowing volunteers to continue to come in and pick up the phones.
As the Pandemic saw people spending more time at home and turn increasingly to the internet as their means to communicate, video’s ability to inform, engage and educate people online made it the perfect medium for the job. But, with our Brighton video production team also working from home over lockdown, this came with a brand new set of challenges. Whatever we were going to make, it had to be done completely within the confines of our own (not exactly spacious) homes… and without acting talent or crew.
We produced a concept that would feature a living room time lapse turning from day to night… day to night… day to night. A monotonous experience that pretty much everyone was going through during lockdown. Sure, it was artistic, but it lacked the human touch. So we scrapped it.
Taking a people first approach, we stripped the idea down to just a girl, alone, in her room, in need of someone to listen. We hear the caller tone on her phone continuously ringing as the onscreen narrative describes why donations are needed now, more than ever. As a Samaritan picks up the phone, the girl’s eyes flicker with hope and the film cuts.
Brighton and Hove Samaritans were on board with it and so were we. The finished fundraising advert was then shot by our Creative Director Tom, in his own bedroom, featuring his very own girlfriend… not an actress (up until now!)
Originally intended for Brighton and Hove Samaritans branch, the charity HQ decided they loved the effectiveness of the concept and repurposed the video to be rolled out for a national TV and Digital Advertising Campaign for their Emergency Appeal. During June, the video was played for two weeks over thirty-seven channels spanning the UK. It had a fantastic outreach, capturing over 1,040,000 viewers across TV and social media and achieving over 4000 reacts on social media.