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Hard message? Get creative

17 April 2014

As an agency that focuses on behavioural change campaigns we are often tasked with reaching audiences who are disengaged from what we are trying to say, whether this is because they are socially isolated, have ‘heard it all before’, or in many cases, simply don’t care.

This is the challenge that we regularly face with client Electrical Safety First, who we have recently helped re-brand from the Electrical Safety Council to reflect their ongoing commitment to campaigning for consumer safety. The charity aims to reduce electrical accidents in the home, but it can often be difficult to explain why electricity – hidden, mundane and something that we take for granted – can be so dangerous.

Nobody likes to be preached to about safety, so we need to sugar the pill by making the message as creative and engaging as possible, hopefully to the extent that our audience will share it with others.

For our latest campaign we revived one of the nation’s favourite public information films, Charley Says, and created a new short video that explored the risks of overloading plug sockets. A typically ‘dry’ subject, we used the nostalgia of the characters and the humour of the story to create a memorable message around electrical safety in the home. We even got David Walliams involved to record the voiceovers for the cat and the young boy to widen appeal.

We promoted the video using an integrated PR and marketing strategy, using consumer research to develop a news story exploring our lack of awareness when it comes to overloading sockets. We secured 207 pieces of coverage, with ten national online pieces including BBC News Online , Mail Online and Mirror Online. We also promoted the video on Facebook, skewing the marketing to reach people who would remember the original Charley Says videos, and through the Google Display Network.

The results speak for themselves. Nearly 150,000 people have watched our video to date and it has been shared on Facebook 5,598 times.

Charley Says was the second integrated video campaign we have run for Electrical Safety First this year, the first of which used the disturbing image of a melted doll’s face to highlight the consequences of not storing hair straighteners away safely around young children. We launched this campaign in January and over 8,000 people have since requested a heat proof pouch from the charity, and two manufacturers have committed to providing pouches with their products.

If you have an important message that people simply don’t want to hear, creativity is a fantastic way to break down their defences.