Kids Help Phone looks beyond the crisis moments

The non-profit wants to lower the barrier for reaching out by showcasing services ranging from community-building to dealing with the stress of back-to-school.

Kids Help Phone is building awareness for its services as students settle back in to school by dispelling the notion that kids must be in crisis to reach out to the organization.

The spots promote an array of the organization’s services and platforms, including its Rise Up platform for Black youth, its gateway website and the resources contained there, and its peer-to-peer community, all while speaking to actual anxieties kids are dealing with in today’s world, as identified through a impact report prepared for the non-profit.

“We developed three 15-second spots, each focusing on a different service Kids Help Phone was developing to lower the barrier for kids who are reaching out,” explains Mark Rozeluk, a freelance CD who worked on the project with agency Lifelong Crush, which developed the campaign.

Rozeluk notes that during the pandemic, the number of kids reaching out to the non-profit’s services had more than doubled. Even still, there was a misperception that a kid needed to be facing a “serious life-or-death situation” in order to reach out, and the organization wanted to address that.

“We used data points from counsellors themselves to identify the common themes and issues kids were bringing forward, and then incorporated those into the spots so they would be identifiable to the kids,” says Rozeluk.

As such, the spots tackle topics ranging from social anxiety to the struggles of pandemic learning and making friends in an environment that has become unfamiliar to them. The unifying theme is that kids don’t have to be alone, and can reach out to the non-profit for support.

While spotlighting the three different services in a single, unified campaign was difficult, Lifelong Crush took a modular approach to the spots that allowed them to feel stylistically similar while promoting a distinct service.

“Each spot had to feel like part of the same campaign, but have its own message and call to action,” says Rozeluk. “If you see one and then another, you’ll feel they are all connected, because we approached them the same way with the internal monologue narrative and the way the camera shifts from kid to kid. The idea was to show that everyone has a million thoughts running through their head at the same time.”

The modular approach to each spot – and the use of voiceover to touch on each issue kids are facing – gives the campaign added longevity, Rozeluk says, because the organization can revisit and remix the spots as needed to continue to speak to their target audience once the back-to-school season is over.

“If they want to run them later in the spring, Kids Help Phone can adapt the narrative to what’s happening at that point, too,” Rozeluk explains.

The campaign is running across social channels including Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Snapchat, TikTok and Wattpad. Media planning was handled by Epitaph.