Mind & EFL Partnership brand

Making Mind relevant to a male audience

  • Brand Strategy
  • Campaign idea
  • Event design
  • Launch activation
  • Messaging
  • Tone of Voice
  • Film
  • Social Media Content

Despite increased aware­ness of men­tal health issues, the stig­ma around get­ting help remains a bar­ri­er for most men. Mind had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to talk to this hard-to-reach’ audi­ence via a game-chang­ing part­ner­ship with the EFL – what became the On Your Side partnership.

Our strat­e­gy posi­tioned Mind not as a cor­po­rate men­tal health char­i­ty, but as a friend­ly coach and extend­ed sup­port team for fans them­selves. Thanks to the new part­ner­ship brand, new brand nar­ra­tive, assets and cam­paign, there was a 36% increase in aware­ness of the EFL and Mind Part­ner­ship amongst men. Best of all, Mind is now the much need­ed go-to for men seek­ing help.

We are proud to have worked with ODA on this game-chang­ing project for Mind. They brought real com­mit­ment, pas­sion and ideas to our part­ner­ship, going way above and beyond the brand iden­ti­ty that we’d orig­i­nal­ly com­mis­sioned them to cre­ate. True part­ners, they hand­ed out foam thumbs and shook buck­ets help­ing us raise mon­ey on match days.

Annabel Davis Head of communications & Marketing, Mind


All sea­son long, EFL fans sup­port their team through highs and lows. The On Your Side part­ner­ship meets them where they are: pitch side. Our strat­e­gy posi­tioned Mind not as a cor­po­rate men­tal health char­i­ty, but as a friend­ly coach and extend­ed sup­port team for fans them­selves. The Mind sup­port­ers’ club – with the tagline, Who­ev­er you sup­port, we sup­port you,’ – has res­onat­ed with men. 

The identity for what became the On Your Side partnership employs the simple visual of a team scarf.

We anchored all our messaging and activations in one clear, inclusive message: one in four of us will experience a mental health problem. From this we mapped out a year-long activation timetable, identifying key moments in the football calendar and creative way to connect the partnership with fans.


The Mind tone was shift­ed to some­thing more edgy and acces­si­ble. Keen to find an authen­tic voice, we organ­ised infor­mal groups with footy fans. The tone we co-devel­oped spoke to men using their own lan­guage to cre­ate a dis­tinct­ly male voice that tapped into ele­ments of irrev­er­ence and humour while being care­ful not to under­mine the seri­ous­ness or the cred­i­bil­i­ty of the message.


Our brand world employs foot­ball ver­nac­u­lar such as team scarfs and graph­ic ban­ners, mak­ing the brand more active, inspir­ing, and acces­si­ble to a male audi­ence, but still recog­nis­ably Mind. A bold colour palette of pitch green and uplift­ing orange sits along­side the white and blue Mind brand. We also applied a duo­tone to all imagery with an added grit­ty grass­roots’ texture.


We incor­po­rat­ed exist­ing ele­ments of the Mind brand – the dis­tinc­tive Squig­gle and hand drawn font. By reimag­ing them in the world of foot­ball as the pitch line and an expres­sive foot­ball font, we sought to cap­ture the noise and atmos­phere of a chant in the stadium.


We also worked with fundrais­ing teams to cre­ate acti­va­tions to encour­age fan par­tic­i­pa­tion and devel­oped sub-brand iden­ti­ty sys­tem. Mind Games were espe­cial­ly fun to work on. We designed the games with foot­ballers and the EFL as pre-match or half time fun to bring fans and fam­i­lies togeth­er and sup­port­ed clubs with toolkits.

We designed acti­va­tions for big events such as the Cari­bou Cup to encour­age over 90,000 fans to join the Mind sup­port­ers’ club. Our stand was designed to make fans feel at home, the club head­quar­ters was a shed and there was back­yard bar­beque feel to the event.

Our team joined the Mind team to rat­tle buck­ets and dri­ve dona­tions. We achieved the vir­tu­al­ly impos­si­ble – get­ting the Mind brand into the hands of thou­sands of fans with our big foam thumbs up’ — a pos­i­tive sym­bol of support.


We also saw the oppor­tu­ni­ty to cre­ate an engag­ing cam­paign as part of our work to dri­ve par­tic­i­pa­tion. Silence is the fun­da­men­tal issue for men; focus­ing on that fact invites men to par­tic­i­pate and think about their own behaviour.

Our core insight was that help­ing a mate vs help­ing your­self was a more acces­si­ble entry point for men. Our cam­paign Have your mate’s back talked about the dan­ger of silence in a fun engag­ing way, and we encour­aged men to turn their shirts back to front to show they had their mate’s back.

It took off. Fans, foot­baller play­ers, and clubs got involved and it made it onto Sky News.

We are huge­ly proud to have played a part in the sig­nif­i­cant increase in fans talk­ing about men­tal health.


The result was a 36% increase in aware­ness of the EFL and Mind Part­ner­ship amongst men