CALM on how financial constraints became its strength
On a budget of just £120,000, suicide prevention charity CALM used footage of iconic sporting moments to challenge the stigma around mental health.
Despite 125 lives being lost to suicide every week in the UK, CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) knew work was needed to get people talking about anxiety and depression.
With a production budget of just £20,000 and £100,000 to spend on paid media, CALM set out to challenge the negative perceptions and encourage people to seek support by using the context of sport to make mental health tangible.
‘The Invisible Opponent’, devised in collaboration with AMV BBDO and Seven Stones, saw the charity remove the opponents from iconic sporting scenes, using existing footage and photography. The launch campaign centred on heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury’s 2018 bout with Deontay Wilder, during which the British fighter recovered from a 12th round knockout.
Wilder was removed from more than 1,000 frames to reveal Fury, who has shared his own mental health struggles, fighting an invisible opponent. The message – ‘Sometimes the toughest opponents are the ones you can’t see’ – ran over the final sequence.
Supported by £150,000 of added value from media partners, CALM made its TV debut during ITV2’s Love Island, with an introductory voiceover explaining viewers don’t have to fight alone.
In earned media terms, CALM generated 484 press mentions within a week of launch. On the day of launch alone, the charity’s social impressions increased by 1,601%, with engagements up 1,894% and link clicks up 1,816%.
Most importantly, calls to the helpline rose 74% year on year during the week of launch and were up 82% a month later, results which helped CALM scoop the Marketing Week Award for Best Use of a Small Budget.