Big Issue to publicise ‘runaways’

The Big Issue, the magazine for the homeless, is launching a campaign to highlight the 250,000 people who go missing in the UK each year. Together with advertising agency BDDP.GGT, the Big Issue will publicise the National Young Persons Helpline, a charity telephone service which runaways can contact. The whole of next week’s Big Issue will be dedicated to articles on missing people and the theme of loss. GGT has devised a campaign which spans TV, cinema, and radio to promote the issue. The visual work uses blank space and static to create the impression that the ad has gone missing. The radio campaign includes ten seconds of total silence. GGT creative director Trevor Beattie says: “The facts around these figures are startling. The people at the helpline put in a lot of effort, they hear a lot of harrowing stories and find a lot of people.” A spokeswoman for the helpline says the aim of the campaign is to shatter misconceptions about the kinds of people who go missing. She says: “Most of these people are not teenagers as the public tend to think. Of the 250,000, only 100,000 are under 18. “The rest are made up of a mixture of elderly people or from Alzheimer’s sufferers who go missing and are put into hospitals but no one knows who they are so their families cannot be contacted. Another large group is middle-aged men who run into financial problems, feel they have failed their families and run away.”

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