In 2020, Childline were at an important point in their 34-year history.
Established as a charity focused on helping children cope with issues such as abuse, violence, neglect and addiction - Childline were acutely aware that young people were also becoming increasingly more vulnerable due to their own mental health.
There was a rising need for support on topics ranging from body image, gender identity, sexuality, and various mental health issues. A problem exacerbated when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, resulting in surging rates of depression, anxiety and eating disorders.
Young people were struggling to cope. Insecurities rampant, self-esteem low. But they weren’t turning to Childline. Usage was declining and propensity to call was flat. There was a perception from young people that Childline did not see things from their point of view.
Childline needed a campaign to speak to them. To reassure them that whatever they might be feeling, that they were certainly not alone.
THE WAY THROUGH
We started by looking for the right language to help us talk to young people on their level and let them know they were truly understood.
Workshops with young people taught us that “not normal” is the stock insult for anyone who doesn’t “fit in”.
“Normal” is a mysterious, ever-shifting standard to which we feel we must measure up.
We wanted to tear “normal” down.
#NobodyIsNormal was born. A simple, yet often unspoken truth that we all feel like we don’t “fit in” one way or another. In doing so, positioning Childline as the place to go if that’s how you feel.
To bring this lesson to life, we created a film that captured the feeling of not fitting in - personifying insecurity as a monstrous creature that we keep hidden inside. The story follows one such creature disguising itself in a human skin suit in order to appear like a “normal” teenager and fit in at school. However, they soon discover that things at their school aren’t quite as “normal” as they might seem. In fact, everyone seems to be hiding something inside.
The beautifully crafted stop-motion animation creates a surreal world for our story to unfold - imaginatively designed to stop the thumb-scrolling teens who speak in the weird and wonderful language of the internet.
Complimenting the visuals is the iconic Radiohead song “Creep”, which provides a melancholy ode to the outcast. The classic track chosen to create a sense of timelessness, introducing the misfit anthem to a new generation.
With a small paid media spend, the campaign punched well above its weight in reach and engagement.
The film was viewed 6 million times across social and widely shared, including by institutions like Manchester United and celebrities like Ant & Dec. It generated 4,000 mentions in the media including making the ITV and Sky news and featuring in Sky’s weekly news show for children. Children even created their versions of the hidden monsters and shared them socially.
Most importantly children turned back to Childline, particularly on issues the campaign looked to address. Support pages saw a spike of 96% looking for help, and demand to counselling services rose 10%.
#NobodyIsNormal not only captured the sentiment of how many were feeling, but also equipped them with a phrase and affirmation to be kinder to themselves.
Or, as one child put it, #NobodyIsNormal is “Powerful and yet true for everyone, big or small. Be yourself and love who you are.”
6 second film for social platforms
- Increase in visits to support pages
- Increase in actual counselling
- Mentions in the media
NOBODY IS NORMAL (confronting an issue head on)
Young people were struggling to cope. Insecurities rampant, self-esteem low. But they weren’t turning to Childline. There was a perception from young people that Childline did not see things from their point of view.