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Powerful Samaritans 'Up All Night' Campaign Reaches Thousands of Young People in Crisis

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Ardmore creative Emily Osborne delves into the campaign which reaches out to young people in Northern Ireland

Powerful Samaritans 'Up All Night' Campaign Reaches Thousands of Young People in Crisis

Emily Osborne is a creative at leading advertising and design agency, Ardmore. She began her career as an intern with Ardmore during her studies in Ulster University (UU). She made as much of an impression in UU as she did in Ardmore and graduated last year in Graphic Design and Illustration with first class honours and was also named 2021 UU Student of the Year. She is a Greer Garson Film Award Winner for her short film, exploring the experience of online learning during a pandemic, and is passionate about connecting creative strategy and human-centred design within her work. Trying to understand the visual systems of our lives and how this can be used to improve both our culture and wellbeing. 

Here, Emily explains about last year’s successful Samaritans campaign which reached out to young people in Northern Ireland. This campaign for the Samaritans, who are Ardmore’s charity partner, was particularly meaningful for her as she knew exactly what the isolation and loneliness felt like, and what so many young people missed out on, over the last two years.


Q> How did the campaign come about?

Emily> The Samaritans, who are our charity partners here at Ardmore, needed a social strategy for their “Children and Young People Campaign.” Given the pandemic and its consequent effects, many young people had been struggling with their mental health and it was realised, that this audience needed support now more than ever. 

Loneliness, concerns about the future, and a disruptive home life were all contributing factors to the decline in the mental health of our children and young people. 

The report 'A New and Better Normal' by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, interviewed over 4,000 young people and found that 41 per cent of P7 respondents and 52 per cent of 16-year-olds felt that their mental and emotional health had worsened during the pandemic. 

The Samaritans recognised that many in this particular age bracket may need support, so we helped them come up with a strategy to reach out to those who needed help.


Q> What was your role or involvement in it?

Emily> As the creative on the project, I was involved in the concept development of the campaign. Working alongside our senior creative and copywriter to develop a tone of voice that was understanding and relevant to the target audience, young people, as well as storyboarding the concept for final animation. 


Q> How did you decide when and where to place this campaign?

Emily> 'Up All Night' ran for two bursts, targeting people aged 13-24 in Northern Ireland and was scheduled to run from 10pm – 6am. 

The logic behind this timescale was to capture the attention of the young people who struggle to sleep due to insomnia, anxiety due to the pandemic, or the struggles of everyday life. To distract themselves from this, they turn to scrolling on social media to occupy their busy minds. 

This type of continuous scrolling can have a further detrimental impact on young people’s minds as they spiral into “doom-scrolling”, where they are simply reading negative news about lockdown or seeing other’s negative social posts.

Ardmore wanted this campaign to reach young people at this particularly vulnerable, low point to check in with them, so in turn they would check in with themselves.

The campaign was led by a small team, with a fast turnaround. We wanted to reach as many people within our target audience as possible, and at the right times. 

Social media proved to be the best and most engaging place to reach our audiences to create a time-reactive, digital-focused strategy. 


Q> Did it have an impact?

Emily> With a relatively small budget and tactical timescale, the “Up All Night” campaign was a huge success. 

Achieving over 2.75 million impressions across the online platforms in Northern Ireland with a population of 1.9 million. 

This was Samaritan’s first TikTok campaign in Northern Ireland and it alone achieved over 800,000 impressions and almost 3,000 “swipe ups.”


Q> Why do you think it was so successful?

Emily> The 'You. Yes, you' creative allowed us to implement a conversational theme. With an understanding tone and an art direction that allowed the campaign to disrupt users during periods of “doom-scrolling.”

The focal point was a simple message to at-risk and vulnerable people - that The Samaritans are there for you when you need to talk. 

And sometimes, that’s all someone really needs to know. That there’s someone there to talk to, and that someone cares. 


Q> What do you think has been the hardest thing for young people like yourself during the last two years? What have you missed? 

Emily> Delays at critical life stages: from starting university and internships; to searching for work or losing touch with friends and family wreaked havoc for young people over the last two years. Lonely lockdowns, economic uncertainty and a global recession have disrupted a generation of teenagers and young adults at critical moments, severely damaging their independence and personal development. 

The biggest aspect that was affected was a sense of hope. Young people are meant to feel as if they have the world at their feet, excited to step out of years of education and into the opportunities and occasions that the wider world has to offer – and yet the last two years have meant young people across the globe have had to learn hard life lessons early.

Personally, working remotely was extremely debilitating due to loneliness and uncertainty about the future. Missing out on the culmination of 13 years of education; with my final year of university being spent entirely online, without the company of friends or family was difficult. Losing out on a final year show and in-person graduation, alongside other critical moments with family and friends that can never be regained was very tough.


Q> What did it mean to you to be involved?

Emily> To be involved in this campaign for Samaritans was an honour. 

It was particularly poignant at that time as I fell within the target audience. Many of my friends had difficult struggles during the pandemic and I could relate with first-hand experience to the devastating impact lockdowns had had on young people within Northern Ireland. 

The insights around the campaign development felt real and close to home – making it even more important to deliver a campaign that would make a difference.

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Categories: Corporate, Social and PSAs, Charity

ardmore, Mon, 07 Feb 2022 11:53:16 GMT