Kids Help Phone keeps quiet

The organization forgoes a script, using an immersive 360 post to tell its story.

The latest awareness campaign by Kids Help Phone is utilizing immersive technology to show that teens’ lives aren’t always what they seem.

A photo post that went live on the organization’s page Nov. 14 appeared to show a young female student smiling for the camera. However, when users panned around on their desktop or mobile devices, the image was revealed to be a 360 post, and outside the frame, other students are seen whispering and mocking the girl, with some scrawling insults on a nearby wall. The post was timed with Ontario’s Bullying Awareness Week, which was from Nov.14 to 18.

It was the organization’s first time using the immersive medium, and Melanie Simons, head of marketing and communications for Kids Help Phone, says the aim was to create a message that stopped social media users in their track without even saying a word.

“We wanted to really try a new approach and develop something that was immersive for audiences and tell a story in a deeper way,” she told Media in Canada. “You can do that through video, but we wanted to try something more innovative.”

The campaign targets both the young teen and tween crowds and parents, and Simons says the reaction she’s already seen has been encouraging. The post has already seen 2,700 likes and nearly 1,000 shares.

“I think it really struck a chord. We’ve been able to see comments on the post about parents whose kids have been bullied, or even who had been bullied themselves.”

Society Etc. executed the media buy for the campaign pro-bono, with creative by J. Walter Thompson. Facebook also partially sponsored the boosting of the posts.

Simons said the era of social and digital media has allowed the organization to become far more creative with its campaigns.

“The targeting capabilities [of Facebook] are incredible,” she says, adding that the target for this campaign was aimed at both the teen audience and parents of teens. “We have a better way of ensuring that our messages are getting seen by the right people.”

The challenge, she says, is that social media brings about an onslaught of branded messaging to teens — not all of it positive — and the organization has to work harder to stand out.

In the past two years, Kids Help Phone has grown its audience on Facebook from 6,000 to 24,000 likes (English page) and 1,500 to 6,000 likes (French page). Simons credits this growth to Kids Help Phone’s increased Facebook-native content investing more in paid advertising campaigns, although she wouldn’t speak to the specific increase of the ad spend.

Last year, the organization ran a digital campaign entitled “Find Your Voice” which aimed to engage more young people and raise awareness of the organization, and followed up with its “BroTalk” campaign, which targeted male youth in need of counselling services who are statistically less likely to reach out for help.

Simons said both campaigns were viewed as successes by Kids Help Phone, with the Find Your Voice campaign pulling in more than 160,000 engagements (likes, shares, comments) and increasing the organizations’ Instagram audience by 244%, and resulting in a 35% increase to the connection to the service. Similarly, the BroTalk campaign, which ran for 12 weeks on Facebook, Instagram and Xbox, resulted in 65,000 website sessions, almost 2,000 contacts to the service and 600 counselling sessions.

From Media in Canada