Lifeline is Northern Ireland's crisis response helpline. They came to us with a crucial mission – to reach more people in distress and save lives.

PHA lifeline-insitu

The Ask:

Lifeline needed more people to reach out for help, by increasing awareness and understanding of their services and their brand. This was obviously vital for people at higher risk of suicide, and those close to them.


The Challenge

Northern Ireland has the highest suicide rate in the UK. Unsurprisingly then, our levels of engagement with mental health services are also alarmingly low. Our in-depth research revealed people are reluctant to talk, they think they'll become a burden and they don't know what help is available. So, if we wanted this campaign to make a difference, we really needed to break down some barriers.

lifeline VFX-tracking

Our Approach

Our work revealed a crucial insight that became the foundation of our campaign: people always say "I'm fine" even if they're in crisis.

From that insight, our creative idea was born: “Don't hide your real feelings.” We brought this concept to life by showing people hiding their feelings.

Speech bubbles (designed to look like Lifeline's logo) held phrases like "I'm not okay." But a crucial word was obscured by our actors' heads, in this case, the word "not". So, at a glance, the line read "I'm okay," and the truth was obscured. These people literally hid their true feelings.

Our campaign also highlighted that hiding distressing feelings is a sign you really need to talk to someone. Then we highlighted Lifeline’s services and encouraged people to reach out for support.

We spread this message through a multi-layered media campaign. It ran across TV, BVOD, Radio, Outdoor, Press, Display, Social, and Search.


Our campaign had incredible reach, with 99% of Northern Ireland adults seeing it at least once and over 48 million impressions.

However, reaching people was only the first step – we also had to make an impact. And independent post-campaign tracking revealed our message stuck with people. A remarkable 82% remembered at least one campaign element, and 83% said it got them thinking about their own mental health.

But the true success lies in the campaign generating an 18% increase in call demand for Lifeline. That's 18% more people reaching out for the support they desperately needed.

An added bonus was the campaign's success at the Drum Roses Awards, which celebrate the best creative work outside London. The campaign picked up a bronze award ahead of some of the best campaigns from UK and Ireland.