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Self-Care from the Inside Out

Self-Care from the Inside Out

Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

November 4, 2019

A campaign focused on suicide prevention encourages teens to look after themselves, and highlights a personal story for one Havas Londoner.

"Suicide is the most likely thing to kill you if you’re under 45, and rates amongst teenagers are worryingly increasing"

The opportunity to empower young people with mental health support was personally meaningful to Havas London’s Senior Marketing Director Alex Lindblom-Smith, who helped bring a partnership between CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and Topshop/Topman to a new level.

The “Care Sewn In” campaign reimagined the traditional care label, inscribing it with self-care tips and helplines, before stitching it on the outside of 13 different garments for the world to see.

With the particular aim of reaching young people struggling with mental health in school and university, Havas London’s Lindblom-Smith and Ben Hawley, CALM’s Marketing Director, talk about the importance of the campaign.

 

Tell us a little about why the “Care Sewn In” campaign was a particularly meaningful piece of work for you? 

Alex Lindblom-Smith: It was around the age of 16 that a close friend of mine died by suicide. We met at a summer camp and it was the night before our annual winter reunion that he took his life. When it was announced to the group, we were all devastated and shocked. How could someone so young, with his whole life ahead of him, reach a point where death felt like the only way out?

Sadly, teenage suicide isn’t as uncommon as you might think. Suicide is the most likely thing to kill you if you’re under 45, and rates amongst teenagers are worryingly increasing. When the opportunity presented itself to work with CALM and to provide a younger audience with mental health support in partnership with Topshop and Topman, the team and I set ourselves the goal of making this project the most impactful and meaningful work to leave the building.

How did this collaboration between Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and Topshop come about?

ALS: CALM and Topshop have had a strong relationship in recent years. Together they have developed and distributed the CALMzine (a lifestyle magazine with an editorial skew towards mental health) since 2011, and collaborated on 2017’s “L’Eau de Chris” campaign, which led to an amazing 1,800% increase in visits to the CALM website by 18- to 24-year-olds.

In 2019, self-inflicted deaths amongst females under 25 saw a considerable rise, reaching the highest rate on record for that age group, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics. As a result, CALM no longer wanted to focus the support it offered to just men. Expanding its existing partnership to extend across Topshop as well as Topman felt like an impactful way to engage and inspire a gender-inclusive 16-24 audience.

The campaign took the care label and repurposed it. What was the thinking behind this?

ALS: All clothing has a care label inside telling you how to look after it. Our idea was to create a care label on the outside, encouraging people to look after themselves. A simple idea in theory but one which required significant dedication by both Topshop and Topman to bring it to life across 13 garments, with the added commitment of £5 from every product sold being donated to CALM.

Highlighting CALM’s helpline and webchat services was a key motivation of this campaign; how do you think the labels opened up a dialogue?

Ben Hawley: On a really simple level, we want to raise awareness because we can. We know the positive impact our services have. We’re currently preventing two suicides every day, and as we continue to grow, we can fund our services to meet an ever-increasing demand.

We deal with a subject matter shrouded in shame, stigma, and taboo, but it doesn’t need to be that way. By putting our helpline on the outside of the garments, we want to show everyone that needing help is fine and seeking it, in some cases, is absolutely necessary.

It’s work like this that gets people talking. It’s about giving people the permission to have a conversation they otherwise might avoid. It doesn’t need to be too prescriptive but definitely has to be disruptive, and this work is just that.

"It is absolutely vital we recognize the pressures and support this generation, as well as give them the tools they need to support each other and take a proactive approach to their own mental well-being"

“Care Sewn In” was aimed at young people—particularly those returning to or starting university. Why was it important to enlighten this demographic about CALM’s services?

BH: As a demographic, recent statistics paint a worrying picture about young people, self-harm, and suicide. There is an ever-increasing amount of pressure on young people. From social media, to exams, to leaving home and starting work—all with a political and societal backdrop of uncertainty and division.

It is absolutely vital we recognize the pressures and support this generation, as well as give them the tools they need to support each other and take a proactive approach to their own mental well-being. This campaign highlights the need to let what’s inside out and to tell others about your stresses and concerns in good times and bad. This sort of behavior will hopefully slow the propensity to bottle up emotions, a trait so common amongst older generations.

A film directed by Havas London creative John Ogunmuyiwa accompanied the campaign. What was the concept behind this and why were British cinemas the chosen platform?

ALS: In terms of encouraging people to talk, going to the cinema and sitting in silence is probably the most counterintuitive social activity you could do with a friend. For that very reason it felt like the most apt and disruptive place to remind people to talk.

Through social listening we found that the language and visuals people associated with their mental health were quite abstract. So, our creative starting point was to normalize talking about your emotions in abstract. Using surround sound, we brought to life the inner abstract dialogue of our protagonist and dramatized the relief they felt once they had opened up to their mates in an everyday setting.

Many marketing campaigns surround World Mental Health Day. How do you think “Care Sewn In” managed to stand out from the crowd but also fit into the larger picture of #LetWhatsInsideOut? 

BH: You have to do something well crafted and inspiring. There is a lot of noise and a lot of lip service being doled out these days and there’s a lot of lukewarm messaging. To cut through, you need to capture imaginations. This campaign definitely succeeded in doing that. It’s a never-been-done-before idea that delivers a lasting impact and a territory for great creativity, landing heavily with an incredibly powerful OOH (out of home) and 30-second ad for cinema and beyond. 

Anything else you’d like to add?

ALS: We were blown away by the response to the campaign when it launched, with the sentiment being hugely positive. All 13 products trended on the Topman and Topshop websites. But arguably, what was most heartwarming was the level of help and support offered up to the team to make this project happen. Everyone who worked on this project at Havas did it on a pro bono basis, often in their own spare time. 

Havas Media worked wonders to get us 30 spots gratis in 30 premium cinemas, all in close proximity to the 15 stores retailing the 13 garments. Havas Media also secured prime DOOH (digital out of home) and print real estate, with our key visual heroed in both Metro and the Evening Standard on the day of launch for World Mental Health Day. Our exceptional production team did an amazing job to secure some world-class partners to help us bring our cinema spot to life, with Big Buoy, Unit9, and Jungle all getting involved. 

BH: The power of creativity is something we try to harness at CALM and we rely massively on the goodwill and dedication of teams like the one we worked with at Havas London. It’s not always easy: we still have to be demanding clients and push for world-class ideas to land, and when the work is being done, we rely on the teams taking our work as seriously as big-fee-paying clients. Everything about this campaign was top drawer, and that is a testament to the input and absolute drive to deliver a great message for our cause.

"Suicide is the most likely thing to kill you if you’re under 45, and rates amongst teenagers are worryingly increasing"

The opportunity to empower young people with mental health support was personally meaningful to Havas London’s Senior Marketing Director Alex Lindblom-Smith, who helped bring a partnership between CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and Topshop/Topman to a new level.

The “Care Sewn In” campaign reimagined the traditional care label, inscribing it with self-care tips and helplines, before stitching it on the outside of 13 different garments for the world to see.

With the particular aim of reaching young people struggling with mental health in school and university, Havas London’s Lindblom-Smith and Ben Hawley, CALM’s Marketing Director, talk about the importance of the campaign.

 

Tell us a little about why the “Care Sewn In” campaign was a particularly meaningful piece of work for you? 

Alex Lindblom-Smith: It was around the age of 16 that a close friend of mine died by suicide. We met at a summer camp and it was the night before our annual winter reunion that he took his life. When it was announced to the group, we were all devastated and shocked. How could someone so young, with his whole life ahead of him, reach a point where death felt like the only way out?

Sadly, teenage suicide isn’t as uncommon as you might think. Suicide is the most likely thing to kill you if you’re under 45, and rates amongst teenagers are worryingly increasing. When the opportunity presented itself to work with CALM and to provide a younger audience with mental health support in partnership with Topshop and Topman, the team and I set ourselves the goal of making this project the most impactful and meaningful work to leave the building.

How did this collaboration between Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and Topshop come about?

ALS: CALM and Topshop have had a strong relationship in recent years. Together they have developed and distributed the CALMzine (a lifestyle magazine with an editorial skew towards mental health) since 2011, and collaborated on 2017’s “L’Eau de Chris” campaign, which led to an amazing 1,800% increase in visits to the CALM website by 18- to 24-year-olds.

In 2019, self-inflicted deaths amongst females under 25 saw a considerable rise, reaching the highest rate on record for that age group, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics. As a result, CALM no longer wanted to focus the support it offered to just men. Expanding its existing partnership to extend across Topshop as well as Topman felt like an impactful way to engage and inspire a gender-inclusive 16-24 audience.

The campaign took the care label and repurposed it. What was the thinking behind this?

ALS: All clothing has a care label inside telling you how to look after it. Our idea was to create a care label on the outside, encouraging people to look after themselves. A simple idea in theory but one which required significant dedication by both Topshop and Topman to bring it to life across 13 garments, with the added commitment of £5 from every product sold being donated to CALM.

Highlighting CALM’s helpline and webchat services was a key motivation of this campaign; how do you think the labels opened up a dialogue?

Ben Hawley: On a really simple level, we want to raise awareness because we can. We know the positive impact our services have. We’re currently preventing two suicides every day, and as we continue to grow, we can fund our services to meet an ever-increasing demand.

We deal with a subject matter shrouded in shame, stigma, and taboo, but it doesn’t need to be that way. By putting our helpline on the outside of the garments, we want to show everyone that needing help is fine and seeking it, in some cases, is absolutely necessary.

It’s work like this that gets people talking. It’s about giving people the permission to have a conversation they otherwise might avoid. It doesn’t need to be too prescriptive but definitely has to be disruptive, and this work is just that.

"It is absolutely vital we recognize the pressures and support this generation, as well as give them the tools they need to support each other and take a proactive approach to their own mental well-being"

“Care Sewn In” was aimed at young people—particularly those returning to or starting university. Why was it important to enlighten this demographic about CALM’s services?

BH: As a demographic, recent statistics paint a worrying picture about young people, self-harm, and suicide. There is an ever-increasing amount of pressure on young people. From social media, to exams, to leaving home and starting work—all with a political and societal backdrop of uncertainty and division.

It is absolutely vital we recognize the pressures and support this generation, as well as give them the tools they need to support each other and take a proactive approach to their own mental well-being. This campaign highlights the need to let what’s inside out and to tell others about your stresses and concerns in good times and bad. This sort of behavior will hopefully slow the propensity to bottle up emotions, a trait so common amongst older generations.

A film directed by Havas London creative John Ogunmuyiwa accompanied the campaign. What was the concept behind this and why were British cinemas the chosen platform?

ALS: In terms of encouraging people to talk, going to the cinema and sitting in silence is probably the most counterintuitive social activity you could do with a friend. For that very reason it felt like the most apt and disruptive place to remind people to talk.

Through social listening we found that the language and visuals people associated with their mental health were quite abstract. So, our creative starting point was to normalize talking about your emotions in abstract. Using surround sound, we brought to life the inner abstract dialogue of our protagonist and dramatized the relief they felt once they had opened up to their mates in an everyday setting.

Many marketing campaigns surround World Mental Health Day. How do you think “Care Sewn In” managed to stand out from the crowd but also fit into the larger picture of #LetWhatsInsideOut? 

BH: You have to do something well crafted and inspiring. There is a lot of noise and a lot of lip service being doled out these days and there’s a lot of lukewarm messaging. To cut through, you need to capture imaginations. This campaign definitely succeeded in doing that. It’s a never-been-done-before idea that delivers a lasting impact and a territory for great creativity, landing heavily with an incredibly powerful OOH (out of home) and 30-second ad for cinema and beyond. 

Anything else you’d like to add?

ALS: We were blown away by the response to the campaign when it launched, with the sentiment being hugely positive. All 13 products trended on the Topman and Topshop websites. But arguably, what was most heartwarming was the level of help and support offered up to the team to make this project happen. Everyone who worked on this project at Havas did it on a pro bono basis, often in their own spare time. 

Havas Media worked wonders to get us 30 spots gratis in 30 premium cinemas, all in close proximity to the 15 stores retailing the 13 garments. Havas Media also secured prime DOOH (digital out of home) and print real estate, with our key visual heroed in both Metro and the Evening Standard on the day of launch for World Mental Health Day. Our exceptional production team did an amazing job to secure some world-class partners to help us bring our cinema spot to life, with Big Buoy, Unit9, and Jungle all getting involved. 

BH: The power of creativity is something we try to harness at CALM and we rely massively on the goodwill and dedication of teams like the one we worked with at Havas London. It’s not always easy: we still have to be demanding clients and push for world-class ideas to land, and when the work is being done, we rely on the teams taking our work as seriously as big-fee-paying clients. Everything about this campaign was top drawer, and that is a testament to the input and absolute drive to deliver a great message for our cause.

Patricia Murphy is a content creator with a background in digital health and lifestyle journalism. She loves to chat and tell stories.

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