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​Movember’s drive to tackle male suicide worked. Inside the award-winning campaign


By The Drum, Editorial

June 13, 2024 | 7 min read

Taking Creative Innovation Gold at The Drum Awards for Marketing EMEA 2024 is Taking a Stand on World Suicide Prevention Day with Movember and Splendid Communications. Here is the award-winning case study.

Example of the award-winning work

Example of winning work

Campaign Objectives

Office of National Statistics (ONS) data revealed the shocking fact that three out of four suicides in the UK are men. We were tasked by men’s health charity, Movember, to raise awareness around men’s mental wellbeing on World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) as part of a wider integrated marketing campaign. They wanted to educate people on the early signs that may indicate someone is struggling with their mental health, driving traffic to their ‘Spot the Signs’ landing page designed to equip people with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to reach out to loved ones to prevent them reaching crisis point.


As a charity traditionally known for the annual initiative ‘Movember’, and with a limited budget and time available, we needed to find a way to play a relevant role and generate positive conversation about mental health around World Suicide Prevention Day.

We knew from Movember that men struggle to talk to each other and friends and family about their emotional wellbeing, including expressing if they’re struggling, or asking a friend if they’re OK. By conducting our own research study, we found that an informal environment, such as at the pub or watching a football game, is a time when most men said they’d be most comfortable checking in with a friend. Our research indicated that almost half (48%) of individuals in the footballing community had grappled with their mental well-being. As a result, we rooted our campaign in the world of sport—specifically football, as the number one sport in the UK—as a way of reaching our target audience.

However, while reaching and educating men was critical to this campaign, we also wanted to find a way to encourage as many people as possible to check in on the men in their lives on World Suicide Prevention Day.

Method Deployed

We launched a campaign called ‘Sport the Signs’—a piece of activity turning empty season ticket seats at Rotherham United F.C. and Darlington F.C., located in two areas with the highest male suicide rates in the UK, into powerful messages. The bottom of the seats were wrapped with stickers and covers which featured the famous Movember moustache logo (the ‘mo’) and the poignant message: 'Where's My Mate?', prompting fans to ask themselves where their usual ‘stadium friend’ was. The seats also featured a QR code which took people through to the Movember website for more support and information on the early signs of mental health troubles and how to reach out.

We took photographs of the story to sell-in to news and picture desks to secure coverage and raise awareness during World Suicide Prevention week. We also worked with key club spokespersons, as well as renowned referee and Rotherham-local, Howard Webb, to ensure authenticity and breadth of media coverage in different verticals. Our ‘Where’s My Mate?’ and mo message appeared on stadium screens throughout both matches to the 13 thousand strong crowd. Having a strategic mix of Northern Clubs taking part ensured authenticity and strong national and regional media appeal.

To ensure this campaign reached as many people as possible, on World Suicide Prevention Day itself, we then helped Movember become the first ever charity to use the news push notification function on mobile phones to send a message to an estimated 1.8 million people simply reading: ‘How’s your mate?’. Once people clicked on the notification, sent via the MailOnline news app, they were directed to a sponsored article, with detailed messaging around ‘Spot the Signs’, encouraging them to check in with their loved ones, whilst also equipping them with knowledge and information on how to spot and help ‘a bro who is feeling low’.


The campaign generated strong awareness results reaching over 595 million people in total, including standalone article coverage in national titles such as Daily Mirror, The Sun, Daily Star, and Independent, as well landing in sports titles such as JOE.

100% of coverage included key educational messages, demonstrating the succinctness in message, whilst 95.7% of coverage included branded imagery, showcasing the impact of the assets created.

Movember conducted consumer data analysis to demonstrate changes in consideration and confidence in terms of reaching out following the overall campaign period. This showed a significant shift in the UK in the level of confidence in recognizing the signs of poor mental health, whilst the likelihood of someone checking in on their friend if they noticed signs they were struggling positively increased by 7% from 70% pre-campaign to 77% post-campaign. Furthermore, more than 72% of men aged 30–60 in the UK (Movember’s target audience) were reached at an average frequency of 5.49. Across the campaign period, total users on Movember’s website were up 45% YoY with organic search increasing in clicks by 242% YoY.

In fact, the campaign was such a success that it has since been copied with love multiple times by brands including Norwich United.

Helena Jennison, Marketing Campaigns Director said: “We firmly believe that every single football fan holds the potential to make a difference to someone’s life. When Splendid pitched the idea of ‘Sport The Signs’ we knew this idea had the potential to engage a crucial audience on World Suicide Prevention Day. Working closely with Splendid in the process, we were able to deliver powerful messaging, reminding football fanatics and the wider public that noticing the signs when your mate is struggling and reaching out to one another can save lives. We are grateful to Rotherham United and Darlington F.C., two areas with the highest rates of suicide in the UK, for giving us a platform to demonstrate this.”

Despite working to a lean budget of £20k and having only a matter of weeks to turn around the campaign, the activity demonstrated true real-world impact, with the consumer research analysis post-campaign showing the measurable positive change the activation has had on people’s mental health awareness.

As the first campaign for Movember outside of the original Movember month, it’s been a true success in creating a relevant role for the charity in men’s mental health conversations as well as men’s health in general, raising impactful awareness of the charity.

Ready to get your work recognized on a global stage? Enter The Drum Awards today. Need more inspiration, read our Award Winning Case Studies.

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