National Citizen Service launch ‘The Big Escape’

Brought to life through EssenceMediacom’s Inclusive Planning process, the show inspires audiences to embrace challenge and ‘Grow Your Strengths’.

Josie Shand



The National Citizen Service (NCS) Trust, a non profit organisation, is encouraging young people to ‘Grow Your Strengths with NCS’ through content aimed at driving participation in its new and improved 2023 programme.  

The Big Escape is a 30-minute YouTube reality entertainment show created in partnership with youth entertainment consultancy, Word on the Curb. The content aims to fold in the relatability young people expect to see from the content they consume, the value exchange from the brands they interact with and the diversity that reflects modern England. 

The show brings together five young people from across England. Working as a team, it sees them take on three escape-room-style challenges against the clock, drawing on their strengths and honing their skills. All the while championed by three influencer mentors – BBC Pressed podcast host Adeola Patronne, comedian and model, Victor Kunda, and It’s Just Nifè whose dance tutorials have taken TikTok by storm.

Successfully completing each challenge will contribute to a pot of prize money, to in turn be donated to the charity of their choice, instead of getting the team one step closer to escape.

Content will be distributed via the NCS social media channels which accumulate over 40,000 monthly views, alongside the influencers’ own platforms, and paid social. With under-18s reportedly spending on average 4 hours and 48 minutes on social media alone every day, this element of the campaign has been designed to cut through their cluttered digital life with entertaining content that can stand on its own, allowing NCS to tell its brand story organically.

“Collaborations such as this with NCS and EssenceMediacom speak to the heart of what we do at Word on the Curb. Our process for arriving upon this show’s format was developed precisely by collaborating with our diverse community of 15-17 year olds through qualitative and quantitative means, to garner insights that supported us in establishing the talent we should partner with and the direction the content should take.” commented Word on the Curb Co-Founder, Hayel Wartemberg.

“Young people have had fewer opportunities to learn and grow in recent years due to the pandemic, and this content celebrates their potential in an authentic, yet entertaining way. Through the partnership with Word on the Curb, we can engage with a wider audience of young people and encourage them to continue to grow their strengths by taking part in NCS experiences.” adds NCS Brand Marketing Manager, Georgie King.

The Big Escape was created drawing from insight from Word on the Curb’s panel of over 25k young people. With Gen Z being the most diverse generation yet, the partnership was initiated through EssenceMediacom’s Inclusive Planning process, which involved aligning the target audience with a partner that understands how to connect them authentically. 

The launch is the culmination of a broader full-funnel campaign, spanning numerous media touchpoints and highlighting the challenges of being a young person in today’s world, all through a series of escape-room-style entertainment. 

In an over-saturated media landscape, the campaign capitalises on insight into the media habits of young people, meeting audiences where they are in a style that they engage with on a daily basis. 

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