Takers of the tube, readers of The Guardian and watchers of Channel 4, may recently have spotted a new campaign raising the profile of mental health research. Dynamic research charity, MQ, has launched a disruptive, celebrity backed campaign “swearing” that they’ll take on the challenge of mental illness if the public will “swear” to help.
Quoting the alarming fact that 75% of mental illness starts before the age of 18, this particular campaign is focusing on the mental health of children and young people, and offering the hope that, whilst it feels like an impossible problem, there was also a time when we never thought we’d get a man on the moon. Crucially, the road to getting there is compounded by the fact that only £8 per person in the UK is spent on researching mental health, compared to £178 per person for cancer. This cause is a long, long way behind.
These were the facts we were appalled to discover when MQ came to us two years ago to define and evolve their identity into a brand – and we soon discovered what a perilous landscape mental health was. Language, brand promises and photography all had to communicate the weight of the issue, but without using the traditional shorthand health research goals of ‘cures’ and ‘beating it’. It was a cliché minefield.
The most dramatic part of their transformation though, was giving the brand, and therefore the charity itself, a clear sense of purpose. Putting the word ‘research’ into the logo, and a simple clarity on what they were trying to achieve brought a new focus, and importantly, a massive boost of confidence.
I had the pleasure of attending the launch of their first TV ad last week (developed by London agency Pablo) and felt tremendous pride in seeing both the clarity of the message and the simple communication of the brand itself, being brought to life. If we’ve done our job right, the brand should be able to be used by any number of creatives, and remain consistent. It’s even better when they absolutely nail it – especially when its doing something as important as MQ are trying to do.
We salute you guys. On every possible level.