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The story behind Papyrus UK's hard-hitting ‘living’ poster

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By Awards Analyst, writer

December 6, 2022 | 6 min read

Ocean Outdoor and Papyrus UK won at The Drum Awards for Out of Home 2022 in the Out of Home for Good Papyrus Show the Unseen Side of Suicidal Behaviour With This Living Poster. Here, we dive into how they created this poignant campaign.

DOOH for Ocean Outdoor and Papyrus of a young woman smiling

How Ocean Outdoor and Papyrus turned heads with disruptive DOOH

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In the last decade, the 15 to 19 age group has seen an increase of 68% in numbers of suicides. Suicidal people often put on a brave face when others are around which means urgent lifesaving conversations are not happening. TBWA\MCR, in partnership with Ocean, created a ‘living’ poster for Papyrus UK that aims to show the struggles often hidden by suicidal people when in the company.

The brief

Gary Fawcett, executive creative director of TBWA\MCR said: “Suicide is the biggest killer of under 35s in the UK, so this campaign is vital in spreading awareness of Papyrus UK which can help those most in need. We also hope to shine a light on emotional suppression, encouraging family and friends to check in with their loved ones.”

So together, the teams created a poignant ‘living’ poster that would turn heads and get people talking.

The idea

One of the biggest problems with suicide is emotional suppression. According to The Independent, nearly half the people with depression appear happy. Suicidal people often put on a brave face when others are around which means urgent lifesaving conversations are not happening.

With this in mind, the team used Ocean’s On Screen AR technology which uses built-in cameras to measure the audience’s attention time as a way of interacting with their screens. This helped create a powerfully simple poster that changes when people are looking. It starts with a young girl who is clearly sad and depressed, but when looked at, she will start to act happy, masking her true feelings.

Girl in Ocean Outdoor and Papyrus DOOH looking sad as someone walks by

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The results

The campaign went live on the Victoria Approach Loop screen in Manchester in April 2022.

In total the campaign gained 26 hours of interaction across two days and the total detections recorded for the activation was 3,929.

Ged Flynn, chief executive of the national charity Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide, said: “Children and young people face unprecedented pressures as they struggle to make their way in life. Relentless social pressure, added to the fact that they are living in such turbulent and uncertain times, is causing many of them to struggle with life. Some begin to give up hope. Our children and young people need to know they're not alone, and that professional help and support is available.”

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can find help and guidance at Papyrus UK.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Out of Home 2022. You can see all the winners here. The Drum Awards for Marketing are currently open for entry. Find out how you can enter now.

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