VICE and McCann London interrupt the 'LoFi study beats' YouTube stream in response to the concerning rise in mental health issues for students
YouTube live streaming phenomenon College Music has today launched, ‘LoFi Beats Suicide’ in response to the concerning rise in mental health issues for students, as well as a notable trend of viewers seeking support on their channel. The new initiative is using their YouTube Live channel to land a powerful message about suicide prevention and the many ways students can seek help and support during exam period, supported by youth media brand VICE. McCann London consulted with The Samaritans when developing the character’s story.
LoFi study beats have become a YouTube phenomenon, one that sees thousands of students tune in to live streams of relaxing lo-fi hip-hop music paired with an infinite loop of an anime girl studying.
The original 'Study Girl', synonymous with the LoFi Study Beats channel.
However College Music noticed a growing trend of its live viewers using the YouTube chat box to talk about how stressed they are, or how depressed they’re feeling, or – in a small number of the most extreme cases – how they’re experiencing suicidal thoughts. With exam season approaching, students are likely to experience heightened stress levels and Childline, for example, have previously witnessed a 200 percent increase in young people calling their hotline because of stress related to revision and exams.
The character “Study Girl” is synonymous with the LoFi study beats channels, keeping viewers company as they themselves study. For the first time ever, after 19,416 hours of incessant studying with no break, the repetitive loop of study girl is interrupted.
'Study Girl' now appears missing when viewers attempt to watch the original stream.
In the animation, Study Girl suddenly appears distressed and begins to cry, overwhelmed by stress and considers taking her own life. However, after wrestling with the decision, she changes her mind and realises there is something to live for.
A hopeful and encouraging message appears on the screen inviting viewers to find out what helped study girl, such as talking to someone about her feelings, which could in turn help them.
As a form of support and education, the video links through to a carefully curated selection of VICE’s mental health editorial work, offering a collection of resources that act as guidance, advice and a reminder that nobody has to deal with their problems alone. In addition, the editorial articles include contact information for helplines that students who are struggling can seek out in the countries where College Music’s channel receives majority viewership, including Samaritans in the UK.
VICE have been further supporting the initiative with a student focused mental health takeover on their Snapchat Discover channel, which attracts a core audience of young people mainly aged between 13 and 24-years-old.
Laurence Thomson, CCO at McCann UK and co-president at McCann London said: “This is not a campaign we entered into lightly – suicide and mental health are very complex and sensitive issues that need to be dealt with carefully in any medium. But with our ability to use creativity to make a difference, we saw this as an opportunity to do good. So – we have the growing concern around of students’ mental wellbeing, mental health issues and suicide, and a channel used by students to help them study. Why not use the latter to help the former, by using it as a platform to convey the message that help is available for those who are struggling with their mental health? If students are using these lo-fi channels as chat forums to talk about suicide and stress – then this seemed like the perfect place to offer support.”
Jamie Clifton, editor-in-chief at VICE.com, said: “We’re proud to be supporting College Music’s efforts to provide mental health advice to their audience of students. With exam season approaching stress levels are understandably rising, and we hope our extensive back catalogue of mental health coverage will help to offer some guidance to anyone in need.”
For more information on suicide prevention in your country please go here
Creative Agency: McCann London
Chief Creative Officer: Rob Doubal and Laurence Thomson (McCann UK)
Executive Creative Director: Sanjiv Mistry and Jamie Mietz
Creatives: Robin Gordon and Ella Monti
Co-President: Rob Doubal and Laurence Thomson
Designer: Matthew Thomas
Senior Planner: Elisa Chami-Castaldi
Senior Project Manager: Paul Gillespie
Director of Communications: Katya Escala
Senior Account Manager: Robert Stockton
Account Director: Leyla Tezcan
Head of New Business: Elizabeth Bernstein