Today, WPP agency GTB UK and Ford of Britain launch ‘Elephant in the Transit’, a new campaign which was born out of the Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising competition, and then developed into a meaningful partnership with the mental health charity and Ogilvy UK client, Time to Change, forming a vital part of Ford’s commitment to enable progress in many aspects of British life.
Together with Ford’s support, GTB UK’s Charlotte Doyle and Paul Porter worked with the creative department and proactively entered the Channel 4 competition, which aimed to bring non-visible disabilities to light in mainstream advertising. The agency created the campaign to tackle the significant stigma attached with mental health, specifically targeting Britain’s male population. The campaign idea went on to make the top seven submissions in the contest. The agency remained determined to help encourage these men – who are particularly susceptible in the UK to suffering mental illness in silence - to take the first step in talking about their challenges, openly and without stigmatisation.
Time to Change is a charity dedicated to changing the way we think and act about mental health. Run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, the organisation has spent the past 10 years helping change attitudes around mental health by collaborating with workplaces, communities and schools.
The TVC unfolds with two men sitting at the front of a Ford Transit, with a huge elephant occupying the space behind them, an enduring symbol of both the enormity of the burden and the difficulty it brings. The driver, sensing his colleague has something on his mind, pulls the vehicle over and asks him to talk. As he begins, the elephant fades into the background.
In 2017, Ford of Britain launched their new brand platform, Ford Enables British Progress and through a series of locally originated campaigns, demonstrated how Ford is a partner in British progress: Together We Go Further. With over a million journeys taken in Ford Transits by men every day in Britain, both Ford and GTB wanted to engage audiences in a meaningful dialogue which extended beyond its products and could make a positive impact within communities across the UK.
Mandy Dean Ford of Britain Marketing Communications Manager: “The UK has a huge job to do in terms of making progress with raising the agenda of mental health. The issue is manifesting itself in the worst possible way and it’s become the biggest killer of young men in our country. It’s going on around us all the time and we’re not aware of it – it’s just not being spoken about enough. Ford are embarking on a journey via our new brand promise, ‘Ford enables British progress’ to change this. Essentially, don’t ignore the signs. You need to take action. Be it send a text message, be it have a coffee. You need to find a safe space to have a conversation with someone you might be concerned about”.
Paul Yull & Adrian Birkinshaw, Creative Directors, GTB: “In the brief, Space to talk were the three magic words that really got us thinking and opened the door to the idea of the Elephant in the Transit. We wanted it to be thought-provoking; something that would stay with you; a gentle reminder, if you like, that’s it’s okay to talk to your mates about your mental health. And once we had this image in our heads of a fully-grown elephant standing over two guys, waiting to see who would approach the subject first, we knew we had what we were looking for. The Ford Transit, kind of wrote itself into the campaign after that. It was a perfect fit. The ideal space to talk."
The campaign will come to life through a TVC airing on April 5th across channels including ITV2, Sky2 and Sky Living, and social films which will feature across all social platforms. Beyond the campaign work, GTB UK and Ford of Britain have also recently signed the Time to Change pledge to destigmatise mental health within both organisation as well.