Continuing The Drum's belief that marketing can change the world, Dan Willis, founder of Why Digital, and Dorset Mind held a spin-off Do It Day event in Bournemouth that encouraged the creative and marketing industries to make a real difference to improve mental health issues among kids. Here's what happened.
When The Drum first launched Do It Day in 2015, it did so on the premise that it would help the marketing industry to step away from the high pace nature of the day-to-day in the industry and see what purposeful difference it could make in a single day to help further good causes.
While in years' past The Drum has galvanized the global marketing industry, from New York to Singapore, with one single event, this year's Do It Day saw agencies set up their own 'fringe' events.
Talking to The Drum, Why Digital's Willis - who participated in last year's Do It Day in London - said it embraced the event's ethos but wanted to prove that the world-changing ideas don't have to come from big cities.
“We’ve got an incredibly creative community in Bournemouth, it has the fastest growing digital hub in the UK,” enthused Willis. “We’re doing incredible stuff down here. Rather than looking at the big cities, remote Do It Day events are a way of looking after our own communities. Everyone has got restricted budgets, we live in a world of austerity. We need to look after our own communities at a local level, then that’s a lot more achievable.”
Fringe Do It Day 2018
The spin-off event gathered Bournemouth’s budding local ad community, including figures from Silicon South, The RHMC and Whistle agency, to respond to a brief that was set by mental health charity, Dorset Mind.
After working on the brief throughout the day, the four teams who took part presented their ideas to a panel of judges, which included Dee Swinton from Dorset Mind, Dan Willis, the event coordinator and Timo Peach, director of Momo Creative.
The following is a summary of the pitches from the day. The winning pitch came from 'Team Four' which offered a simple, yet effective way to empower kids to help themselves - by implementing mental health whiteboards across schools in the area, which would each week tackle a different area of the illness and channel kids towards solutions.
In response to the brief, Team One focused on a collaborative well-being initiative which would bring together young people, who suffer from mental health.
Their idea? To bring kids together through theatre.
The production would aim to recruit children who have broad interests, from marketing to lighting and production.
Following a number of workshops that would teach the children wellbeing methods of coping with mental health and self-checking methods, the final production would take place over the course of 48 hours.
The theatre theme of the play was also very important - putting on productions like Glee, or The Greatest Showman would get the kids to explore mental health through the storyline itself.
The team felt focusing on a theatre production would allow children to feel a sense of belonging, as it allows them to work together across departments while developing different skills and abilities.
Team Two came up with the idea of an app called 'Well Ahead,' with the aim to help young people aged 14-19 to understand and manage their own mental well-being.
The group recognised that although there are a lot of apps already out there about mental health, they are very niche, generally aimed at adults and a lot of them very very text heavy.
The aim of 'Well Ahead' was to sign-post teenagers to relevant support and information already out there.
The user would see the app as the first line of defence, which would alleviate strain on the NHS and health services.
They understood that often those who suffer may not want to talk, particularly to adults.
The app would have two options - for those who suffer, and for those who want to help others. It would have different layers, including education, and feeling trackers, which would try to encourage kids not to press the panic button - a part of the app which helps them call for help.
Tinder - for mental health?
Team Three recognised how hard it was to understand how people were feeling, and how to articulate that. Working under a similar premise as Tinder, the mental health app aimed to help younger people become more self-aware about what it is they are actually feeling.
Recognising that mental health questionnaires are often not very relatable to young people, their app, called Grounded, would be a fun interactive way for kids to test their mood.
Through the app, the kids would be encouraged to select topics which were relevant to them, by swiping left or right - be that stress with exams, or unhappy at home. They would finally reach a series of quotes or snippets of text that relates to images which they can relate to, rather than putting on a scale how they feel, which can be very subjective.
Team Four (the winners)
Inspired by the London underground signs, Team Four thought whiteboards in schools would encourage children to talk about mental health.
With an ingenious name 'Notice the Signs' they wanted to offer kids an end-to-end solution.
The whiteboard would have weekly targeted messaging, to direct kids to resources and assets that already exist, to help them deal with mental illness.
Recycling these already existing content would allow them to utilise them, rather than reinvent them.
Teachers would change the whiteboard according to information and resources they would provide, with each week the messaging would be tailored to cover a whole range of mental health issues.
Low maintenance, low cost, actionable and achievable - the public nature of the whiteboard in schools would encourage kids not to be afraid to talk about their problems.
A simple, clear winner.