The brief was daunting.
Make young people more aware of the dangers of legal highs.
It was certainly one of those briefs that’s so exciting and potentially satisfying it leaves you with the urge to be sick whenever you think of it – and file it at the bottom of a drawer until the last possible moment. (And then, when that last possible moment arrives, you make sure paid client work gives you a totally acceptable excuse not to tackle it.)
The concept of something being ‘unsafe for you’ isn’t very tangible, especially when you have the invincibility of youth.
But we couldn’t leave this challenge alone. With four of us in the agency of eligible age to enter the Pip Award, we clubbed together and agreed that convincing young people to start questioning the safety of legal highs was more important than our own sleep and sanity.
We knew it wouldn’t work to tell our audience that ‘legal highs are unsafe’. Not just because they wouldn’t pay much attention, but also because the concept of something being ‘unsafe for you’ isn’t very tangible, especially when you have the invincibility of youth. It’s difficult to imagine what it might be like to die. But imagining the effect of your own death or disability on those closest to you is much more impactful.
To get our audience to do that we needed inception.
Unfortunately, Leonardo DiCaprio was busy. No matter how much we tried, a combination of cables, crafted dreams and gyroscopes wouldn’t play ball. So we settled for paper. A tiny scrap of paper – the canvas for a suicide note – would be our catalyst for inception.
But that left us with a couple of challenges: how could we smuggle the note into the hands of our target audience, and how could the Angelus Foundation (the charity behind the brief) afford to back the campaign?
And it’s out of those challenges that we came up with the idea to disguise the note as a legal high – the ideal mule to target our message, make it even more impactful, and even generate a revenue stream for the Angelus Foundation.
It’s pretty cool that the IPA Best of Health judges liked our idea. And it was fun to go to the cabaret show awards ceremony and come back with a bitten apple (complete with seed). But the question remains – have we done enough to convince the Angelus Foundation that our idea can blossom in the real world?
Want to see the winning work? Head over here to see our entry!< Back To Blog