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Reach and Support
Strategic Content Development Manager, NSPCC
Working with the NSPCC's content team is a fascinating and fulfilling experience. It's refreshing to see a charity invest in a brilliant dedicated film & animation commissioning team that serves the whole organisation.
Over the years we've developed a rigorous and honest working relationship with the NSPCC's content team. This has become the foundation for a number of projects with focusses from support to fundraising and service brand building. Lovers from Australia to Brazil have taken part, allowing us to fine tune our style of delivery each time.
Each project calls for a unique balance of information, persuasion, reassurance, advice, emotional support, encouragement and other factors. It's only by working closely with NSPCC counsellors and other experts in the organisation that we're able to glean the insights we need to balance these communications effectively.
With an integrated process of concepting, scripting, casting, voiceover recording, sound design, music composition, filming, animation, post production and slate design, we're able to tailor our workflow specially for each piece.
Help and Advice
Young victims of sexual abuse have so many barriers disuading them from talking about the abuse. We were asked to show that ChildLine understands this, and is there to help.
By portraying a sensitive and productive dialogue between a nervous young caller and a ChildLine counsellor, we helped the audience visualise what might happen if they did try calling. This enabled us to show the answers to some of the questions that often become a barrier to calling, such as "will I be believed?" and "will anyone find out?".
One line from our brief read "sometimes the words physically get stuck in my throat, I can't get them out". Taking a typographic approach meant we were able to visualise this struggle in forming the words to talk about the abuse. As the piece progresses these words appear more easily, capturing the progress the young caller is making.
As with all our NSPCC animations, the intricacy of the cell animated picture speaks to the delicacy with which these calls are handled by ChildLine counsellors. A subtle but important signal.
When bullying takes place online it can fast become a problem that feels completely inescapable. The anxiety this causes makes it very difficult to focus on how to cope.
Starting with the proposition of ‘three things to try’ we looked at the nature of confidence itself, which tends to be built up in pieces over time, like blocks. This led to a pixel-based visual approach with which to build our message, also referencing old school gaming as a pared-back problem-solving language, all about overcoming hurdles.
Scripting requires a unique approach each time, and this case required a warmth and reassurance that would help the young viewer feel less stressed about their situation, without seeming to trivialise. It’s a process of boiling down the points of advice and re-stringing them until the entire voiceover feels like a real, colloquial whole.
As with most of our online videos for the NSPCC, we kept this advice under three minutes in length to ensure we could sustain a succinct message without losing the viewer’s attention.
Neglect is an issue that young people often don't actually realise they're facing, because they think what's happening is normal. So we set out to clarify what constitutes a 'need'.
When a young person experiences neglect, they often can't feel the difference between the things they 'need' and the things they 'want'. It's very common for the young person to be told that they are selfish for challenging their situation or requesting things, even as basic as food and water, which can prevent them from seeking help.
Rather than delivering a single viewpoint on neglect, we decided it would be helpful for the young person to hear other young people talking about the difference between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’. This provided a way to gently cover the subject and let the viewer notice the commonly agreed ‘needs’ all young people have a right to have met.
The casting process enabled us to bring together a group of young people with differening backgrounds and opinions, covering the subject from different perspectives and experiences.
As with any youth-facing brand, the fight to stay relevant is fierce. We produced the 'Life's Complicated' mini series to capture the weird and frustrating stuff that young life throws.
The umbrella idea allowed us to explore lots of different issues, from bullying, peer pressure and sex, to self-esteem drugs, and fitting in. By using animals showed that problems in life are natural and they happen to everybody. In a light-hearted way, we were able to explore the things that can make life complicated for young people.
Using humour requires bravery on the part of any brand, and it would have been easy for ChildLine to do something safer. But the commissioning team knew that if it watered down its content through timidity, its audience would ignore it.
Part of the approach here was to show that ChildLine isn't only for young children, and that it understands the pressures of teenage life. The overall message was simple: Life's Complicated — You can talk to us.
Sexting (sending flirtacious and/or sexual messages using mobile phones) has thrown up a new set of pressures, dangers and complex problems for young people to navigate.
The NSPCC took the bold step of releasing an app to help young people think of ice-breaking retorts in potentially awkward exchanges. A big part of the problem for young people who are being pressured to send naked pictures of themselves is thinking of a way to diffuse the pressure. The NSPCC's 'Zipit' App offers a set of irreverant and unexpected 'comebacks' to these kinds of messages.
Our job was to promote the app's functionality and appeal in a series of extremely short (ten second) TV ad spots, built for the Hollyoaks Ad Break. Watch with sound on Vimeo.