How ITV used content to get millions talking about mental health

Millions of people have thought more seriously about mental health thanks to one of the UK’s biggest broadcasters.

When ITV launched ‘Britain Get Talking’ in October 2019 it became the most recognised mental health campaign in the UK. And the campaign came back with renewed vigour and purpose when the Covid-19 crisis hit this year.

The campaign was originally created to reflect widespread changes brought to ITV by Dame Carolyn McCall, appointed as CEO in 2018. She launched a new strategy to provide ‘More than TV’ and saw the brand extend further into new services and direct customer relationships; she also called for the brand to differentiate itself from global competitors by being more culturally relevant to a UK audience.

No other broadcaster was tackling mental health in the same way, so ITV set clear objectives to drive awareness and to increase understanding of the need to talk about improved mental health. It also sought to encourage more than 700,000 people to take action to improve their own physical and mental health.

As well as partnering with Mind and Young Minds, ITV gained support from some of the network’s most familiar faces. Ant and Dec relaunched the initiative, encouraging their huge audiences to look after themselves and those close to them.

The message from the duo, aired just before the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, was turned around in just days. It saw them ask viewers to pick up the phone and call somebody they were unable to be with.

Reaching 70% of UK adults over four weeks, the campaign was covered extensively by mainstream media and via social media.

According to ITV, more than 6.1 million people have made calls or sent messages to friends and family since 21 March as a direct result of the campaign.

This contributed to ITV taking home the prize for content at the 2020 Marketing Week Masters awards.

The campaign also won the Masters award for brand purpose.



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