Each year one million people kill themselves. Each death directly affects ten people and indirectly affects a further 50. So each year 60 million people are scarred by suicide.
We live in a polluted world. Polluted by hatred, injustice and ignorance. Some of us manage to grow a thicker skin. Others suffer quietly until they see no other solution than to take their own life…
I know, therefore I can prevent.
It truly troubles us that people are still ashamed to talk about this issue. People are still afraid to seek help and share their feelings. We, as a community, as a society, have to speak up and take action to help the ones who suffer, who fight against ignorance every day of their lives. We must support each other and prevent people from taking their own lives. Picture source
Suicide can be prevented through education and public awareness. This is exactly why The Millennial Ads embarked on a mission to help our friends at Befrienders Worldwide raise awareness and educate our community. Befrienders Worldwide is a volunteer non-for-profit organization that offers emotional support to the people with suicidal tendencies- Our fighters.
Together, we will spread awareness and let our fighters know that they have a friend and that they will always have support.
Our team wanted to place special emphasis on the young generation, or should we say, the millennials, that are being affected by depression, ADD and ADHD, bipolar disorder and any other types of mental illnesses that lead to suicide. We believe every teenager deserves to have a life full of joy and happy memories.
Our mission was to spread the word among the young generation using media platforms that the kids are most comfortable with. In the age when everyone has a digital footprint and especially the tech-savvy young social media users, we created online communities to support them, but most importantly, to teach them where they should go in order to be heard and understood.
The main goal of this marketing campaign was not only to spread the word about Befrienders Worldwide offering support to those prone to suicide, but also to spread positive vibes, fight the problem on a more personal level, connect with the sufferers and help them get through their hard times. The campaign started in March, 2014 and lasted for 6 months.
In order to achieve all of the above-mentioned aspects, four main communication objectives were composed using the DAGMAR approach (Belch & Belch, 2012).
- Awareness – Suicide is a very sensitive issue, but calls for immediate action nonetheless. The first months of the advertising campaign were very intense since we were striving to reach as many young people as possible. We wanted more and more people to know about Befrienders Worldwide and the admirable work they’ve been doing. Creating buzz is all about the new generation, therefore all platforms of social media were cluttered with such hash tags as #Befrienders #StopSuicide and #FighterNotVictim
- Comprehension – After the word has been spread, we worked hard on creating the best educational material and were really dedicated to helping our audience understand what the organization is and what they can offer. Knowledge is power. We believe knowing where to go is the key element in helping yourself pass the dark times of your life.
- Conviction – The following months were devoted to working on Befrienders Worldwide’s image and gaining trust from our fighters. We were prepared for it to be a challenge since we were talking about a very sensitive issue. However we managed to enhance the organization’s image and hopefully help more fighters develop an interest/ intention to talk their problems through with an empathetic BW volunteer.
- Action – Since taking a step forward and opening up about your problems to someone is not an easy decision to make, it might take some time until a fighter comes to Befrienders Worldwide. Thus, the last months of the marketing campaign were focused on supporting and encouraging people to open up to possible help and making use of Befrienders Worldwide services.
The Millennial Ads, as a digital advertising agency, wanted to use today’s top three most popular digital platforms, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, to create a virtual community, where people who experience suicidal tendencies can talk to professionals or share their thoughts and feelings with one another. Using these three platforms, our fighters could get in contact with Befrienders Worldwide directly and get personalized help.
With the help of Facebook, we created our own community: an online support group, Befrienders Worldwide. Here, our fighters can share their thoughts, feelings and problems by posting their story anonymously. They are able to send their message to an email address posted in the info box, which will then be published on the timeline of the Facebook group without any indication of who was behind it. This way, people are able to share their troubles without revealing their face to the World Wide Web. Often people with suicidal tendencies avoid going to therapy or talking to their friends or family members because they feel embarrassed or think that they will not be understood. Having a virtual and anonymous platform allows our fighters and professional psychologists to talk, give or get advice and support.
Research shows that simply talking or sharing thoughts and troubles with other people can change a lot for the one who’s suffering. Suicidal people often isolate themselves from their loved ones and society. With a safe community like this one they could get the help they needed anonymously.
This Facebook page also provides people with direct contact information, links and telephone numbers of Befrienders Worldwide to get more intensive and personalized help, if they felt like it. People can also get in contact with the organization, if they wanted to donate or get involved and become a volunteer.
In order to make sure our fighters don’t get bullied or assaulted by ignorant people, the group exists as a closed community. This means that people could easily apply and get verified, but as soon as someone makes a rude comment, he gets blocked. We wanted to create the safest and kindest environment for the people who embarked on a really intense journey.
Instagram (@BefriendersOfficial) is used to share pictures with inspiring and motivational quotes so that our fighters, as well as other people dealing with all sorts of issues, were motivated not to give up and continue searching for the good in life. The pictures posted there are a great addition to the emotional support hotline and online communities that were already established and running.
Followers are able to send their own pictures with quotes to the aforementioned email address or by using the hash tad, #befrienders, while posting on their own feed.
Doing that, Befrienders Worldwide do not only reach out to people affected by depression and suicidal thoughts, but also the rest of the world.
YouTube was used to broadcast our video campaign. Nowadays a lot of companies invest in Video Ads: the 30 sec clips that roll before the video you choose starts. The benefit here is that a company should only pay if the viewer chooses to watch the clip. We decided to use this opportunity wisely and target people of certain age groups, locations and the Google searches they made. We also made sure that the video is accessible from a smartphone or a tablet, since 25% of all YouTube views happen from a mobile device. Link The commercial was shown for approximately 20 to 30 seconds and sent a subtle message to the viewer. We didn’t want it to overwhelm our viewers with heartbreaking statistics, but rather bring a smile to their face and brighten their day even for these short 30 seconds. It mostly represented a glimpse of light, a reminder to chin up and face the challenges with a positive outlook.
The video consisted of a simple picture slideshow of life’s happiest moments, accompanied by cheerful music, as well as inspiring quotes. The last picture also revealed the name or the organization, Befrienders Worldwide, their slogan, as well as contact information.
YouTube celebrities, coming from the USA, Canada, the UK and other places around the globe have a distinctive influence on the modern youth. Some of the big names, such as Michelle Phan, Tyler Oakley and Zoella have more than 20 million subscribers combined and each of their videos is watched by 2-10 million people. Since this campaign was not a one-time event, the Millennial Ads hope to get support from famous YouTube content creators to spread the word about suicide prevention.
We believe in happiness. We believe in light. We believe in hope.
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