The UK’s biggest mental health charity Mind, and the country’s biggest football league EFL formed the game changing On Your Side partnership in June 2018 to bring mental health awareness to an audience that’s notoriously hard to reach because of the stigma that persists around mental health. We were asked to develop a 2-year communications strategy, beginning on World Mental Health Day, with materials to introduce the Mind brand to EFL fans.
Our Strategy: football as a metaphor for life
We wanted fans to understand that experiencing a mental health problem was something that could happen to anyone at any time and that every year 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem. So, we used football as a simple analogy for life. In life, as in football, we all go through tough times when we need a little extra support. Football fans understand the need to be there for their team and support them through ups and downs. We extended on the idea that behind every great team there’s a great support team, from fans, to support staff and groundsmen. We positioned Mind as part of that extended support team.
Film for digital launch
The film is the beginning of a programme of creative activations designed to drive awareness of Mind throughout the EFL. Beautifully shot at Millwall FC’s ground in South London, it follows the team’s support staff as they prepare for the big match. It concludes with a reveal of the traditional pitch markings redrawn as the Mind logo and the subtitle: ‘whoever you support, we’re here to support you. The film launched across EFL and club digital channels.
Retail shops awareness campaign
On World Mental Health day the windows of all Mind’s 150 high street stores were dedicated to launching the partnership to a broader audience. Alongside two mannequins sporting their local EFL team’s shirt emblazoned with Mind’s logo, we designed a poster to clearly link with other launch materials.
We created a social campaign primarily for Club’s Facebook and Twitter channels to sit alongside the film launch. The campaign brings to life the key findings from a survey about football and mental health. Football fans love stats and each stat is illustrated in the familiar Mind illustration style but made relevant to football. We also created a splash page link to the film for Club’s websites.
Behind the scenes
We shot a behind the scenes film at the same time as the launch film to share the making of the film with fans. The film reveals how we achieved certain shots and cinematography using a DJI Ronin and drone to follow the Groundsmen around the pitch.
Devil is in the detail
How did we get that football throw in shot so spot on? All is revealed in this little blooper of the ball throw. It’s a great example of the efforts required and resilience needed on film days to bag the perfect shot. It might have taken 30 attempts, but finally our Creative Director nailed it perfectly. Nice one Grant!