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Do It Day Hack’s best ideas: how marketers will help destigmatise mental health

To mark World Mental Health Day, The Drum today (10 October) invited marketers in the UK, US and Singapore to come together to help destigmatise mental health and create campaign strategies that will launch at Do It Day on 16 November.

Agencies, brands, tech companies and publishers spent World Mental Health Day working together on ideas that will help change perceptions of mental health, laying the groundwork for creative campaigns that will make the world a better place.

Nine charities came along armed with their own specific challenges and more than 200 of the industry's finest talents spent the day working on responses.

Here we take a look at some of the best ideas to come out of the day which will now become a reality on Do It Day.

Best Beginnings

Child health charity Best Beginnings challenged attendees of Do It Day Hack to raise awareness and use of its Baby Buddy app among young mothers aged 16 to 25, and establish the app as a brand on its own.

The app helps to guide parents - both physically and mentally - through pregnancy to when a child is six months old. The charity wanted to increase the app’s cut-through among young mothers because maternal mental health is a “huge issue” that is largely “left off the table” according to Sophie Laverack, digital and content manager at Best Beginnings.

“There is a big stigma because this is supposed to be best time of your life, but the reality is two in 10 women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby, and we don’t talk about it. A further seven out of 10 women don't express the severity of their mental illness because of fears and social stigma, so they don't receive the help they need. This can have a knock on effect on the whole family,” said Laverack.

The first thing both teams focused on was addressing the various emotions facing young mothers, figuring out how the Baby Buddy app can fit into their everyday life. Initial ideas included positioning the mother as a ‘superhero’ figure, but team members were concerned this would alienate mothers who weren’t confident or felt they were underachieving as a parent.

This idea graduated into the notion that Baby Buddy provides an “unfiltered conversation”. The strapline from this team was: ‘Life isn't unfiltered. Ask your unfiltered questions on the Baby Buddy app.’

In the end, Best Beginnings’ chief operating officer and deputy chief exec Shabira Papain said both teams showed “real insight into our organisation and around what we are trying to achieve in mental health”. But she chose the team whose execution strategy could be used both at Do It Day and beyond. This focused on generating a community around the hashtag #secretlifeofmums that aims to show the realities of being a mum that no one talks about. This would culminate in a live interactive panel on ITV’s This Morning (or failing that a Facebook Live panel) made up of Best Beginning’s brand ambassadors, influencers and real mums talking about their experiences of parenthood.

However, Best Beginnings invited the other team to execute its creative idea in conjunction with the winning team on Do It Day.

Winning team members:

Rona Miller, lead creative, Kindred

Georgina Murray, comms, Financial Times

Katy Nicholls, digital marketing exec, Collision Group

Sophie Kurzer, digital exec, ESI Media

Emily Strickland, marketing manager, Reckless

Phil McFadden, copywriter, RPM

Matilda Woulfe, UX designer, Imagination

National Council for Social Service

The National Council for Social Service, a statutory board governed by the Singapore government, challenged teams to develop a holistic public education campaign with the aim to address social stigma on mental health issues in the workplace.

The brief was based on a 2010 mental health study, which more than one in 10 people will have a mental health condition in their lifetime and that there here was a general unwillingness to talk openly about mental health issues because respondents would not want anyone to know if they are suffering from a mental illness.

The study also found that people with mental health issues believe that they are stigmatised by society, feel they have a lower quality of life if they had no income, felt excluded from society and did not feel that they could fulfil their potential.

Team One wants to play on emotions with its campaign, with a 'we all have mental issues' message using humour and surprise with 'the butterfly effect' by creating an LED installation that has facial recognition and shows users' emotions when they stand in front of it. So, when a user smile or frowns, he or she will have a thousand smiles smiling or frowning faces looking back at them.

Team Two, on the other hand, wants to send out a message that ‘perception is not always equal to reality’ by commissioning a study that poofs there is a stigma about mental illness in the workplace to encourage employers to acknowledge the issue. They plan to offline and online channels, as well as influencers.

Pearlyn Tseng, director of corporate communications at NCSS said while both teams tackled the brief well, Team One had a central idea that was engaging and single-minded, which was why they won. “I’m excited by the potential of developing the team’s proposal into a compelling communications campaign.”

Winning team members:

Greg Fournier, executive director, strategic partnerships APAC, Unruly

Gladys Tan, marketing manager, RunningStream Group

Betty Bai, senior consultant, integrated planning, Text100

Neeraj Kothari, senior manager (analytics), Ministry of Health Singapore

Sneha Vasireddy, unattached.

Mind and Nabs

Mental health charity Mind has teamed up with Nabs, a support organisation for the UK advertising and media industry. The pair tasked creatives to dream up a campaign to convince at least 500 individuals from the industry to take part in a study which will provide a "temperature check" on the mental wellbeing of adland.

The challenge follows on from CIPD research which showed that at least one in three people have experienced a mental health problem at work. Noting that the advertising and media industry can often be exhilarating place to work, Nabs and Mind said that long-hours, demanding clients and high pressure also meant that, at times, it was a challenging sector.

The ideas put forward by the two teams to shine a light on the issue placed a focus on getting high-profile industry figures to share their own mental health experiences. Team one wanted to create a series of sharable films featuring testimonials from the industry, while team two wanted to encourage C-suite marketers to get staff to take an ‘ad break’ from their desks on Do It Day.

Ultimately, Mind and Nabs crowned team one the winners. On Do it Day the group will launch a campaign which will aim to reach thousands, not hundreds. The push, pitched under the working title ‘Let’s Talk’, will comprise a microsite featuring the testimonials of senior ad industry professionals, encouraging individuals to start the conversations that aren’t happening and share their experiences via the survey.

“There was a simplicity to what team one proposed which was quite an attractive thing to us,” said Nabs’ communications and insights director Luke Morris.

Winning team members:

Charlotte Mill, sales and marketing manager, Lab

Lab Chris Daly, startup consultant, Flexihouse

Grant Tasker, marketing director, Playmob

Ho-Yee, innovation labs programme marketer, Imagination

Jenny Richardson, senior account director, Foxtrot Papa

Jonathan Dixon, senior production manager, RPM

Caroline Mastoras, sales director, Bing UK

Paul Carolan, managing director, Archipelo

The Mix

The Mix supports under 25s on all manner of concerns from money to homelessness, relationships and drugs. Its aim for Do It Day is to send out an empowering message to youngsters and remind them they are “stronger” than they are often portrayed as being in the media. For the execution, it wants to find a way to drive back this message to its YouTube channel, which is already a vast repository of guidance for young people but lacks awareness.

One team’s idea was to create a live event in which participants would be invited to a gym for the mind rather than the body. There, they would be introduced to personal trainers who would talk to them about their mental wellbeing in person before producing further video content for the charity’s YouTube channel.

The winning idea, however, was dubbed as “reclaim the news”. The premise was to disrupt the negative news agenda around youngsters by creating an alternative 6 o’clock news bulletin, produced by young people, for young people and fronted by the modern-day celebrities young audiences now so often turn to for life advice and inspiration – influencers.

The bulletin, containing empowering stories about the strength of young people’s characters, will play out on The Mix’s YouTube channel on Do It Day. It will be promoted with disruptive ads teasing “a new kind of news broadcast” on the media platforms providing inventory for the day.

Zoe Bailie, director of brand and innovation at The Mix, liked the idea because it was achievable in a day and “could engage millions of young people, potentially”. She said she hoped it would make journalists “stop and think” about how they portray young people, as well as giving The Mix the wider publicity it needs to build its online audience.

Winning team members:

Alex Beazley-Long, creative strategist, Imagination

Catherine Handley, partnerships manager, Jungle Creations

David Sore, head of marketing, Verifone Media

Henry Okello, design officer, The Royal British Legion

Jamie MacCarthy-Morrogh, associate creative director, VCCP Health

Jamien Middleton, creative producer, The Animation Guys

Katherine Fitzgerald, AV exec, m/Six

Lewis Appleby, AV exec, m/Six

YoungMinds

UK youth mental health charity YoungMinds took up a residency at Do It Day Hack to source a campaign easing children’s primary to secondary school transition - a stressful period that can cultivate mental health issues. In fact, half of mental illnesses first manifest before the age of 14.

The brief looked to direct parents of fresh-faced secondary school children to a resource hub called Find Your Feet, designed to teach parents how to handle the repercussions of the move from the top of the primary school ladder back to the bottom of a new - and confusing - hierarchy.

The charity, with support from Asda, regularly visits schools to educate children, but there remains a disconnect with parents who could enhance these preventative measures.

As the afternoon pitch approached, the three competing teams faced a conundrum. In typical Do It Day fashion, vast and complex ideas had to be consolidated or streamlined for simplicity.

Team one wanted parents to spend 15 minutes partaking in fun activities with kids to rally around #Take15 – a parent pledge that gets interested parties on a mailing list. The idea is that a teenager can open up during informal bonding moments. Further to this, the variety of tasks can create top user generated content.

Team two leveraged psychology, putting a twist on this conventional dynamic with the #KidCoach, delivered by ‘wise-beyond-their-years’ children. The content was to contrast issues faced by children and parents, ie starting at school and starting a new job. This was to open a dialogue and generate a common ground.

Team three positioned music as a universal language that can unite child and parent, honing in on a Ice Bucket Challenge-like nomination system to spread the initiative and generate conversation.

Team one seized the day with an informed and charismatic pitch to get parents interacting with their children, although the other minds were invited back to help deliver the campaign at Do It Day.

Winning team members:

Lucy Wakely, senior account executive, Undercurrent

Imogen Almond, new business and marketing executive, RPM

Alex Kosterman, creative copywriter, Impero

Naomi Sandercock, marketing executive, Coull

Segun Malomo, event producer, Undercurrent

Sarah Hannington, Microsoft Search Advertising

Hayley Toothill-Taylor, head of social, Content OD

Jenna O'Keefe, fundraising planner, Good gency

Calm (Campaign Against Living Miserably)

Calm had what seemed like a simple brief, to encourage people to talk to a male friend if they think they are feeling low or in crisis. But what emerged from the three teams tackling it was the challenge of getting people to take action, rather than simply support the idea of it.

Responses were varied; one team pitched the concept of redefining “cockblocking” as “the act of shutting down feelings in yourself or another” while another wanted get men to unbutton their shirts in a social campaign dubbed ‘I’m Open’.

However, judges from Calm’s marketing team agreed unanimously that team one landed on a concept that would result in action.

The idea centred on how men act during key life moments, like being a best man. During that time, they’re emotional, supportive and want to be as helpful as they can.

“But it’s not until we’re given that opportunity of being a best man that we act like that, and it’s only for one day. But we want to show people they can be like that every day,” the team said in the pitch.

The initial campaign will be based on a “simple yet powerful” print campaign backed up with a series of online videos. The whole concept is tied together with the social hashtag #dontwaittobeasked.

Judges praised its “flexibility and ability to be serious as well as funny”. But there is work to be done in the lead up to Do It Day, with judges saying the creative execution hasn’t yet been nailed.

“It has the essence of a great idea but just needs a bit of creative refinement.”

And that’s exactly what the team will be doing in the lead up to Do It Day when they will launch the campaign on the various media assets provided by partners.

Winning team members:

Charlotte Hunt, senior trade marketing manager, ESI Media

Chris Goddard, creative director, Splash Worldwide

Chris Kemm, digital diretor, Thompson Brand Partners

David Shepherd, producer, Krow Communications

Gareth Anderson, strategy consultant, CreateFuture

Hema Patel, managing director, Only Red Marketing

Jo Saker, creative director, Parker Williams

Alex Lacoponi, branded content director, Bold Content Video

Patricia Leonardo, digital creative, Imagination

The Drum and Alternative Genius

For its own Do It Day challenge, team members from across The Drum teamed up with creative ideas platform Alternative Genius to improve how workplaces and leaders approach mental health in the workplace and devise a central campaign to encapsulate all of the mental health briefs addressed on Do It Day 2017.

The brief was born out of the idea that, in many cases, mental health problems need not exist. Issues such as anxiety and depression among the working population often arise as a result of people being overworked and feeling overwhelmed by their jobs. And even in cases where a person’s mental health problem is physiological, a working environment can either make their experience better or worse.

Inspired by responses on the Alternative Genius platform, The Drum’s team chose the brand of #ImNotOK for the central hub. The website will provide advice on the topics uncovered on Do It Day; for instance, there will be sections on mental health issues associated with parenting, young people and the media.

The tagline of #ImNotOK is an invitation to get those with mental health issues to communicate either their feelings of discomfort around a particular issue (‘I’m not ok with getting emails from my boss at 11pm’) or a general sense of distress that they can’t place their finger on.

While the website covers off a variety of serious topics, the strategy devised to get people visiting the hub is a fun one. The team will launch a fake recruitment campaign, advertising a position that includes all the hidden hallmarks of a job from hell such as ‘needs to give up weekends on short notice’ and ‘needs to be 100% committed to delivering profit to a corporation’.

This job will be advertised on social media, job sites and in print. However, when a prospective applicant clicks ‘apply’ it will take them to a page on the hub explaining how the workplace can lead to and exacerbate mental health problems. The Drum will publish an ‘outrage’ story that will lead viewers to the hub and a social, fly-on-the-wall video will also be filmed at a job fair, featuring our fake recruiter and the real reactions of students being presented with the stress-inducing spec.

Team members:

Sam Scott, assistant publisher, The Drum

Ali Tufail, digital growth manager, The Drum

Lisa Barry, business development manager, The Drum

Kerry Meakins, marketing co-ordinator, The Drum

Danielle Gibson, commercial writer, The Drum

Agnes Penke, account manager, The Drum

Jessica Davis, editorial account executive, The Drum Network

Mental Health America

Teams at the Do It Day Hack in New York City were tasked with helping Mental Health America, a 108-year-old nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness, develop a marketing strategy for its B4Stage4 platform.

B4Stage4 started out as a hashtag three years ago but has quickly become the overarching philosophy that drives Mental Health America. The idea behind the message is that mental illnesses should be treated the same as physical ones like heart disease, cancer and diabetes: ‘before stage 4’ or before things reach such a dire state that it becomes extremely difficult to manage symptoms and recover. According to Mental Health America, it typically takes 10 years from the time a person first experiences symptoms of mental illness until they get a correct diagnosis and proper treatment.

Through its online screening programme which offers a number of free tests that anyone can take to determine whether or not they are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition, Mental Health America is working to help people identify mental illness in its early stages and connect them with the services and support they need.

At Do It Day Hack, the nonprofit tasked its three teams with creating something that would both encourage screenings and destigmatise mental illness in the process.

Team one came up with the idea of a platform called ‘Meet Your Mind’ that would encourage people to learn more about their minds, which stemmed from the insight that people’s interest in things like horoscopes and personality tests show that they’re intrigued by their own thoughts and feelings. The goal of the campaign would be to illustrate to people that learning more about their mind via mental health screenings is the first step in being able to properly take care of and look after it.

Team two’s response involved asking people to think of their mental health as ‘mental wealth’, the idea being that if people have a positive connotation with the subject they may be more likely to take screenings and ‘invest’ in their mental wealth. The group also proposed the idea of a YouTube Mental Wealth Empowerment Programme that would feature influencers sharing their own experiences with mental health challenges and screenings.

Team three came up with an idea called ‘The Journey to You’ targeted towards kids that would help parents identify mental illness in their children. The project would involve asking kids to create customised ‘avatars’, similar to Bitmoji, that would prompt them to answer a series of questions about themselves. The hope is that the answers to these questions would help parents glean information about their child’s mental health.

Paul Gionfriddo, president and chief executive of Mental Health America, ended up choosing both team two and team three as winners as he liked both the avatar and ‘mental wealth’ concept. At Do It Day next month, the teams will be tasked with working together to combine the two ideas into one integrated campaign.

“I thought that what Mental Wealth did conceptually was take a strength-based approach that would also be engaging. The idea of pairing that with the avatar gives young kids an opportunity to create a persona that they want to be and that they would like to be, and to get some help around doing that,” said Gionfriddo.

McCann Health hosted the Do It Day Hack in NYC, with the agency's global chief creative officer Jeremy Perrott kicking off the event.

Winning team members:

Devon Guralnick, luxury account director, Financial Times

Dana DiGioacchino, digital art supervisor, McCann Healthcare

Victoria Cheng, associate communications manager, McCann Worldgroup

Itai Zwecker, creative media artist, Bizzabo

Brian Bace vice-president, associate creative director, Ogilvy Healthworld

Mentor: Jenn Dee, vice-president, director of integrated production, McCann Health

Sean Ayers, campaign manager, Financial Times

Cynthia Ryan, senior copywriter, Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide

Kaitlin O'Shaughnessy, copy supervisor, McCann Healthcare

Robert Ross, vice-president, associate creative director, Ogilvy Healthworld

Brandon Rafalson, content marketing strategist, Bizzabo

Mentor: Marcia Goddard, chief creative officer, McCann Torre Lazur

CHAT Singapore

The Community Health Assessment Team (CHAT) had a particular demographic that they wanted to engage around mental health concerns on Do It Day in Singapore.

In the introduction to the two teams, Perry Peh, outreach executive, explained that those seeking help from CHAT services leaned towards a skew of females, despite that both men and women suffer equally from mental health concerns.

The organisation therefore introduced a brief that set out to motivate young people, especially young males to seek professional help early for their mental health concerns.

Team one played on local language nuances and making the idea of seeking help positive for young men. Playing on the Singlish word ‘Steady’, they took it further by merging it with bro culture in #SteadyBro. The idea is to find a positive slang term that embodies the idea of seeking help from other friends. With a content-heavy skew, the idea also includes a competition that would encourage guys to submit content as a group of friends.

The second team considered the issue from a broader gender angle but considered people being told to just ‘deal with it’, which puts people off seeking help. Core to this idea was creating forums in real life and offline, while the team wanted to engage influencers and celebrities as a way of showing that others like them feel the same.

CHAT eventually chose team one after debating between the two closely during deliberations. Peh, said: “the language use was quite interesting to capture the men’s attention to motivate them to seek help without feeling a sense that it’s an egoistic thing. The words the team used that we can resonate with is ‘courageous’ and ‘bravery’. Be brave and seek help.”

Winning team members:

Julian Chow, digital lead, Text100

Nina Chua, account manager, Duo Studio

Tony Leo, senior client success manager, Ctrlshift

Leon Powell, visual artist, Lau + Powell

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