Cannes Lions

It's OK

WIEDEN+KENNEDY NEW YORK, New York / HBO / 2020

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Overview

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Overview

Background

47.6M people in the U.S. have a form of mental illness. That’s 1 in 5 people. 1 in 5 that are often ashamed of being seen as an outcast or some kind of freak. Hollywood typically reinforces this notion with mentally ill characters seen as either serial killers or sight-gags – further stigmatizing the diseases and creating a negative feedback loop. For Mental Health Awareness Month 2019, HBO sought to destigmatize this one-dimensional view, encouraging more conversation around the subject.

Idea

As portrayed by Hollywood, mental health sufferers are often just the punchline or played as one-dimensional freaks. This leads those who suffer from mental health issues to more shame. More silence. The cycle perpetuates. Our idea was to use the HBO properties to show how not only are mental health issues common, they’re normal. That, when it comes to mental health issues, “It’s OK.”

Strategy

The target audience includes ages 18-34. They tend to skew urban and affluent with a high affinity for entertainment and pop culture. They may not have grown up with HBO or watched HBO programming.

47.6M people in the U.S. live with a form of mental illness. That’s 1 in 5 people:

- often ashamed to talk about their struggle.

- often unnecessarily suffering.

- often putting off getting treatment.

This silence is why many misconceptions and stigmas around mental illnesses still exist. No wonder. As portrayed by Hollywood, mental health sufferers are often just the punchline or played as one-dimensional freaks. This leads to more shame. More silence. The cycle perpetuates.

HBO is different. Mental health issues have played a pivotal role in its programming for decades: from Tony Soprano's therapy sessions, to Hannah Horvath's OCD struggles in “Girls,” to PTSD in “Barry,” and more.

Execution

Launching Mental Health Awareness Day, October 10, 2019, HBO’s “It’s OK” campaign sprung to life using:

Bumpers: Upending standard show advisories, HBO created specific ‘bumpers” before shows. Partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Health, the bumpers put the mental health issues in every episode front and center, ultimately reassuring viewers that “It’s OK.” These ran across HBO properties.

Doctor Commentaries: In Doctor Commentaries, Dr. Ali Mattu – a cognitive behavioral therapist – “diagnosed” individual shows as though they were patients. The series debuted on October 10th, World Mental Health Day and lived on HBO’s social channels (YouTube).

The Awareness Anthem: Used years of footage from HBO programming to show the ways in which HBO has honestly depicted mental health issues. (YouTube).

Teen Vogue Panel: HBO partnered with Teen Vogue, holding an “it’s OK” panel to discuss mental health in media and their 2019 Teen Vogue Summit (November 1-3, 2019.)

Outcome

The It’s OK campaign yielded overwhelmingly positive sentiment on social at 99%. Some notable press coverage includes The New York Times, Variety, Forbes and Vice. All results were earned, with no paid support.

PR

Impressions: 1.08 Billion

Notable Coverage: Teen Vogue, Bustle, Paper Magazine, NYLON, New York Times, Variety, Forbes, Vice

Social

Social Sentiment: 99% positive

Potential Impressions: 109M

Total Mentions: 2.5K

Unique User Mentions: 2.1K

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